Sister Elizabeth Eustis Walk With Me
Delmark DD-737 $11.99
This album resurrects the definitive 1962 recording session by an historic pillar of New Orleans' gospel singing community, Sister Elizabeth Eustis. Only four of the thirteen songs from this session were originally released; the other nine - which include some of the session's most brilliant moments - are issued here for the very first time. They recall a classic New Orleans gospel vocalist, a venerable Baptist church-house singer.
New Orleans' history of sublime gospel singing has slid into shadow since the death of Mahalia Jackson in 1972. But visitors to the Crescent City's annual Jazz & Heritage Festival are reawakened to the music's local vitality at the gospel tent. Although this album was recorded in 1962, it sounds exactly like the joyful noise that's still raised under the canvas roof. Perhaps that's because Sister Eustis was New Orleans' most popular stay-at-home gospel star from 1954 to '74. Here, backed by the Second Mount Olive Baptist Church choir, Sister's clear beacon of a contralto cuts to the uplifting spirit of praises like "Lord, Lord, Lord, You Certainly Been Good to Me" and venerable hymns like "The Old Rugged Cross" with unmitigated zeal. And Alverta Mills of the Mount Olive choir uses her uncanny, angelic theremin of a soprano to embellish Eustis' exhortations. Even atheists can get a charge from the limitless electricity in their voices. Amen! (4 stars)
-Ted Drozdowski, Pulse
| EUSTIS, SISTER ELIZABETH / WALK WITH ME -CD
Jazz CD DELMARK 737