You can hear Jackson's evenhanded approach throughout Precious Memories, an album of stripped-down gospel standards the singer originally recorded as a Christmas present to his mom. Limited to guitar, piano, and organ, the arrangements emphasize Jackson's vocals, which eschew the kind of breathy drama skeptics typically view as central to the form. But because the material is so familiar, the disc actually suffers from Jackson's restraint; a few times, it sounds more like Sunday-school karaoke than the labor of love it evidently was. Only in "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," where Jackson sings the heart-tugging melody with a hint of heartbreak in his voice, do we get a true sense of his complex persona.
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