The name “Charlton Heston” doesn’t usually bring to mind old Negro spirituals. But I found a great artifact that combines the two.
It’s a 1959 recording titled “Charlton Heston Reads from the Life and Passion of Jesus Christ.” (Available on CD and by digital download.)
Mr. Heston’s recitation of New Testament scripture is backed by traditional African-American spirituals such as “Were You There?” and “I’ve Been ’Buked and I’ve Been Scorned,” as sung by the Robert De Cormier Chorale.
I’m streaming a 6½-minute track – “The Crucifixion/He Never Said a Mumberlin’ Word” – on my Vox blog. Click here to listen.
Cooler still, this album includes solo performances by Roland Hayes, the great black tenor, a son of former slaves.
I was vaguely aware of Mr. Hayes before, but I had never heard his singing. Click here and enjoy his beautiful rendition of “He Never Said a Mumberlin’ Word.”
Happy Easter to all.