Moments of Note

3 responses to “Moments of Note

  1. Wonderful collection of Vids 🙂

    I’m sending a link to this site to my close Baha’i friends…

  2. I Love Randy Crawfords tones, John, and When I Need You is spectacular.
    Great selection. x

    • The first time I heard a voice of that certain quality that I have never since been able to resist was one afternoon in 1956. I was in grade seven at the time. In those days, we had these tiny “resister radios” that could be ordered by sending in a request for one found on a bubblegum wrapper. These needed no batteries and could pick up radio stations by attaching this wire to something metal. I still do not know how they worked, but they did, and while listening that afternoon sometime just before Christmas, I heard Mahalia Jackson for the first time. My parents noticed something odd about what I was doing because that sound brought tears to my eyes, behavior that would concern them of course because, after all, I was in grade seven; they had never witnessed the reaction I have to this day to music and in particular the voice of Mahalia. That first time, the radio announcer did not announce who had been singing and I had to wait another year to hear that song again, again by her; this time, her name was mentioned. I simply could not be separated from the voice and immediately went to the record store in my neighbourhood, but had no luck finding anything by her. It was another year again before I found out how she spelled her name and then went as asked to order anything that was recorded by her.

      At that point, Lottie, the lady in the record store ask me if my parents knew I was looking for this music. I said no, but asked politely why it was important. The answer Lottie gave was that it was “N” music. In short Mahalia Jackson was black. I asked my parent about this and they both expressed the idea that there couldn’t be anything “off” or untoward about her music if in fact she sings nothing but gospel and spirituals, so I went back to the store and Lottie said that there were only two albums by her. I ordered them both paying for the both of them in advance. When they finally arrived, Lottie called me to tell me that they were there and when I got there they were already wrapped in brown paper and with a caution that I should open them only when I got home because it wouldn’t do to have anyone know that I listen to “N” music.

      Since that day, I must have been listening to her almost every day of my life; I can’t account for the effect her voice has on me, but it really doesn’t matter because all I know is that she never failed to uplift me and still does after all these years. In the beginning, Aretha Franklin was supposed to be a gospel singer, but when they asked her why she didn’t concentrate on that goal, her reply was, “We already have Mahalia Jackson.”

      Few singers ever achieved what Mahalia did until I heard the voice of Randy Crawford whose voice is another one of those singers whose phrasing and tones, not to mention lyrics are all to die for. She apparently was a gospel singer at one time and it shows in her phrasing and deliver, both of which are utterly unmatched by anyone else I know:

      This one is special:

      No one matches Crawford’s phrasing and control, the personal sovereignty of her presentation.

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