With such an abundance of great tracks that were never issued as singles, in many ways, a single-disc Joe Jackson best-of just doesn't cut it. That's where the extensive, three-disc comp Ultimate Collection comes in handy. While artist collections are usually aimed at the casual fan (in search of strictly an artist's best known tracks), the third disc of Ultimate Collection will definitely appeal to the hardcore fan, as it's the first-ever CD release of Jackson's soundtrack to Mike's Murder. Jackson's early, new wave direction is evident on such standouts as "Sunday Papers," "I'm the Man," "One More Time," and of course, "Is She Really Going Out With Him" (one complaint though – the omission of "Look Sharp").
Bless This House was released in 1956 and features Mahalia Jackson and the Falls-Jones Ensemble. This LP is a favorite of the gospel purists who feel alienated by Jackson's collaborations with pop artists like Percy Faith and Harpo Marx. The songs on Bless This House feature great supporting performances by pianist Mildred Falls and organist Ralph Jones. Highlights include a jazzy, swinging "Let the Church Roll On," a dark, bluesy "Trouble With the Word," and energetic versions of "Down By the Riverside" and "It Don't Cost Very Much." Bless This House includes some of Jackson's most serious offerings and reflects the influence of blues singers Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey on her vocal style. A great introduction to Jackson's joyous, religious music and a good beginning for new listeners.
General critical consensus holds Mahalia Jackson as the greatest gospel singer ever to live; a major crossover success whose popularity extended across racial divides, she was gospel's first superstar, and even decades after her death remains, for many listeners, a defining symbol of the music's transcendent power.
Looking at the cover, which shows Michael and none of his four brothers, one wouldn’t get the idea that this three-disc set is two-thirds Jackson 5 material. While Michael obviously features prominently in the Jackson 5 songs on The Motown Years, he gets one disc to himself. Altogether, this box collects all the essential J5 and Michael singles and more, including 'ABC', 'Never Can Say Goodbye', 'I Found That Girl', 'I Am Love', 'The Love You Save', 'Ben', 'Rockin’ Robin', and 'I Wanna Be Where You Are'. Released in the U.K., it retails for the price of a single disc and is a convenient way to scoop up a large quantity of high-quality ‘70s pop-soul.