August 6, 2011

Mahalia Jackson - one of the greatest Gospel voices of the 20th century.

Mahalia Jackson is probably one of the best known Gospel singers of the last 75 years. Her voice was legendary and she had the great distinction of bringing Gospel to audiences not familiar with or segregated from the Black Church and the rich musical heritage that was so much a part of her. She crossed the color line and genre barriers so prevalent in 1950's America. She sang in churches and at Jazz festivals (the great Documentary Jazz On A Summers Day features her alongside such greats as Dinah Washington and Gerry Mulligan).

In 1967 she wrote an autobiography of her life and career called Movin' On Up and this interview is part of the tour she did to promote that book. It's a rare interview and one loaded with insights to the artist and the woman. If you're familiar with her, you may not have heard this candid interview before (it was originally broadcast over what was eventually to become PBS). And if you're not familiar with her, here is a wonderful opportunity to hear one of the truly great singers describe what it was like, growing up in a segregated world and pursuing your dream to become one of the foremost Gospel singers in the world.

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