The Queen of Gospel knew the blues, too, although she famously chose gospel, saying it gave her hope. But whether she meant to or not, this quote reminds us of the innate value of any kind of music: an uplifting tune, a long ponder on the meaning of life, or yes, even a cry for help.
“Anybody singing the blues is in a deep pit yelling for help.”
— Mahalia Jackson
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Ms. Jackson is one of the legendary masters of the genre, and this classic set of Columbia recordings is just the thing for hanging out, studying the style or just adding zip to your housework. After all, no one sings it like Miss Halie.
The Blues: A Visual History
by Mike Evans
Most classical singers are terribly overeducated, but haven’t had a good look at one of American music’s most time-honored traditions. This fascinating and beautiful book is a good place to start, and may light a spark you didn’t know you had. Beware — you may have another style within you yet.