This was a page I thought I ought to add to the site. There seems to be a great many DVD's being released at the moment, and some great companies, such as the Revolver Group, http://www.reelinintheyears.com and Special Ops Media, are kindly sending me these visual snippets in time, so here goes...
I wasn't sure what to make of the offer of a DVD regarding a show which only went out on U.S. networks, the last episode broadcast nearly 30 years ago, however, living in the U.K. does not in any way diminish my interest in Gospel music, firstly on the basis that it spreads the word regarding the preachings of the man up in the sky, but, selfishly, the church has been a wonderful platform with which the Black performer could begin to embrace all forms of Black music, throughout their lifetimes, albeit Gospel or Secular. The Jubilee Showcase was the brainchild of a man called Sid Ordower, who should not be ignored as being a pivotal individual in bringing the Gospel word to a wider audience. His efforts help move forward the early emergence of the Civil Rights movement. As you would expect, a middle class white man raised eyebrows within the Black Community, as he could have been perceived as having a different agenda, however, longevity has shown that the man simply loved the music, wanted to help the oppressed Black community, and more than anything, he simply wanted to spread the Gospel Word. I posted Sid's obituary from the Chicago Tribune's website below, as I am still on a voyage of discovery regarding this fine series, and thanks to August Forte, from the DVD's promotional people, I feel as if I have had a real education regarding an era of magnificent Black Music.
On this fine DVD are 4 shows, along with several interviews, including the wonderful Mavis Staples, along with the late Jessy Dixon. The Jubilee Showcase was broadcast across several U.S. Networks between 1963 and 1984. The shows here offer 4 'drop off' points along the history of this series, which feature the likes of the Soul Stirrers (whose ranks at various times included the likes of Johnnie Taylor and Sam Cooke), the Staples Singers, Andrae Crouch & The Disciples, The Mighty Clouds Of Joy, The Barrett Sisters, Albertina Walker along with many more great Gospel vocalists. I found myself stopping this DVD and cross checking who was in what group online (and over what period, several times over), which felt as if I was back at school at times! A great educational curve. The artists really warmed to Sid Ordower, especially Pops Staples, who said to his children, 'this is a man we must listen to'. Certainly the likes of Jesse Jackson, Reverend Martin Luther King, and the pioneer of the genre Thomas A. Dorsey, all took time to work with and listen to the man. Quite an achievement during a period in Black history where the colour and class of the White man was not the type of person you would turn to with a trusting disposition.
This is a cracking DVD, which, if you are a historian is a must own, and if you simply love Gospel music...likewise. Hugely recommended and a very big thank you to August Forte for sending me this DVD.
show titles and sid ordower
mavis staples and james phelps
(official press release)
Sid Ordower, 82 Hosted, produced famous gospel show January 07, 2002|By Howard Reich, Tribune arts critic. Sid Ordower, a champion of gospel music who captured some of its greatest stars on film, died Friday, Jan. 4, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He was 82. For 21 years, Mr. Ordower hosted and produced "Jubilee Showcase," a Chicago-based television program that aired Sunday mornings on Channel 7. Mr. Ordower grew up in Massachusetts and came to Chicago in the 1940s. Starting in 1963, Mr. Ordower broadcast performances by the greatest names in gospel, among them Thomas A. Dorsey, Sallie Martin, Albertina Walker, Andrae Crouch, the Barrett Sisters, the Staple Singers, the Soul Stirrers and the Dixie Hummingbirds. "I always used to pride myself on getting the best soloists, the greatest groups, the finest accompanists in gospel," Mr. Ordower, a Hyde Park resident, told the Tribune in 1992. "The idea was to get variety. . . . We didn't want to feature just quartets or just soloists. We wanted everything that was out there, so long as it was the best." Indeed, Mr. Ordower started at the top, early on featuring Dorsey, the father of the genre, who was based at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 33rd Street and Indiana Avenue. Mr. Ordower quickly expanded the artistic reach of his program, featuring the Barrett Sisters, who ranked among Dorsey's greatest disciples, and Walker, who extended the boundaries of gospel with her groundbreaking choir, the Caravans. Thanks to these appearances, "Jubilee Showcase" became more than just a TV show--it was a precious document of a glorious music otherwise overlooked by mainstream American culture. "That show literally changed my life," DeLois Barrett once said. "No one seemed to realize I could sing before I was on that show, even though I had been singing long before. "But when I got on `Jubilee Showcase,' people finally found out that I could get up there and sing out and deliver." To gospel singers across Chicago and beyond, "Jubilee Showcase" became a career launching pad because the program reached 250,000 viewers, at the time a staggering number for a religious program. The program started humbly, broadcasting from an auto dealership on 47th Street. Mr. Ordower broadcast the work of gospel pioneers such as Edwin Hawkins, Jessy Dixon and James Cleveland. On one episode, "Jubilee Showcase" featured "Black Nativity," a telling of the story of Christ in gospel terms. Another time, Mr. Ordower read aloud the lyrics to "Lift Every Voice and Sing," to this day considered the black national anthem. A white man, Mr. Ordower said he rarely ran into difficulties hosting a black gospel show. "You see, I wasn't the star of the program, and I didn't pretend to be," he said in the Tribune interview. "I wasn't the one who sang and danced. All I did onscreen was introduce the groups, and I had a rule that I made myself and followed religiously: Never talk for more than 2 1/2 minutes." In one of his last public gestures, Mr. Ordower donated all the "Jubilee Showcase" tapes to the Harold Washington Library Center. "When that show was on TV, it was like spiritual food," Walker said at the ceremony for the donation. "I've missed it terribly, but we won't have to anymore." Mr. Ordower, an Army captain during World War II, fought in the Battle of Normandy and received two Purple Hearts, his wife, Myrna, said. Mr. Ordower is also survived by daughters Cheryl and Karyn and a son, Steven. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Piser Chapel, 5206 N. Broadway St., Chicago.en
sid ordower and jesse jackson
Teddy Pendergrass's career was cut, tragically short by his terrible car accident in the early Eighties. Although Teddy did make material after the accident, some of which was lovely. Songs such as 'Believe In Love', '2 A.M.' and 'Joy', were masterpieces, which must have been a real effort to construct after a part of your life has been reconstructed by events that are irreparable. Teddy has a lovely delivery vocally here. Probably at his artistic height back in 1979 when this was recorded. It is eeirie that he looks almost Marvin-esque at this show. They used to say that women threw their 'smalls' at him during performances, and they weren't wrong. It happens on this show! My wife does that, but only for me to put them in the laundry and make me suffer! LOL What is fascinating with this DVD is the interview with the man after the main feature. This was recorded in 2002, where Teddy reflects on his career. There is something of the Curtis Mayfield about the man at this point. I guess a life changing accident brings out the spirituality within the individual. I am pleased we never lost the man in that crash. Teddy has a lovely voice. This DVD captures the man at his height. Great band by the way. Lovely background vocalists as well. Well worth picking up.
This Marvin Gaye DVD is absolutely lovely. Something about the Revolver Group and http://www.reelinintheyears.com, who issue these things, is they seem to know how to capture certain essential moments in these artists careers. They have a Stevie Wonder DVD on hold right now, that is another masterpiece. The one real sadness, about this DVD, is the footage of Marvin with Tammi Terrell, as it was taken 3 years before her passing. There are some lovely moments, interspersed with with television interviews, that are simply lovely to delve into visually. There was something very melancholic about the man. Almost humbling himself before the audience or interviewer. He gives credit to his late brother Frankie for his Vietnam reflections, respectfully regarding the 'What's Going On' sessions. Shame that the man could still be within our midst, however, as he descibed himself, he ws a 'troubled man'. A great DVD. Lovely footage (especially the Tammi Terrell material...loved the outfit, Tammi). Check Amazon for a copy. Great birthday present for anyone, who has the slightest interest in this convaluted genre.
What is there not to like about Ray Charles? His gentle misdemeanour was always quite captivating and is beautifully highlighted by this fine double DVD set. What the viewer, actually, gets are Brother Ray's 3 visits, guesting on the Dick Cavett Show, broadcast in the early Seventies. The whole shows are included, thus a couple of times you have watch a couple of other guests, however, Ray takes the lions share of the proceedings. Dick Cavett and Ray had an obvious chemistry going on, which is highly amusing at times, especially when Cavett duets with the genius. Dick has a terrible voice, a fact that he plays on and things become highly amusing. Ray works his way through 'Georgia On My Mind', 'Born To Lose' and 'I Can't Stop Loving You' amongst others. Cavett reminisces about his friendship with Ray at the end of this set, quite touchingly. Ray is frank about his life and talks about his drug addition, his poor childhood, amongst other topics. A very nice set that is accompanied by a glossy booklet. Now with Christmas only a couple of months away........
I was contacted by the people who are marketing this DVD. Brother Ray's passing was one of the lowest points within Black Music this year. I was a child of the Sixties and many events bring back powerful memories. Kennedy's assasination, followed by his brothers and Martin Luther King's. Then there was the killing of Malcolm X, along with the Black Power protests at the 1968 Olympics. Interesting times.
Occasionally, something takes you back to those days. Lot of bad stuff going down, but a lot of positives as well. If you look at this moment in time, it is really quite stunning. This DVD is a 'must have' if you are into Ray Charles' music in any way. The band and background singing is quite superb. The whole experience, in watching this DVD, was very moving. As they say in footballing terms, this is very much a game of two halves. Two concerts. The first section is what hit home for this watcher. What a great artist we lost this year. An innovator. Do go and buy this DVD for Christmas. It is a simply lovely way to look back on a genius. As they say in the song....'which nobody can deny'.....click on the image for more details, and, by the way, make sure your DVD player is a multi region one. My I-Mac asked me which region I wanted to view this on, so I used the main machine in my living room. Do persevere, however, this is wonderful, wonderful footage.
best disco in town
Recently, I was sent this new DVD release of a concert entitled 'The Best Disco In Town', which pays homage to the old Capital Radio gigs of the Eighties, I guess. I must admit at being a little wary of releases such as these, mainly because, in some ways it patronises the artists somewhat and they sometimes appear to be a shadow of their former selves. This DVD was a lovely surprise. The audience was comprised of mainly 'thirty somethings', who had been there at that time, and was held at Wembley Arena in 2003. It was great to see Kid Creole strutting his stuff to many of the classic hits of that great band. Really took me back in time. Now I recall where Jim Carrey got the idea for the outfits for the film 'The Mask'! One thing that really struck me was the tightness of each of the backing bands. The sound quality is quite excellent with every act here. All the musicians involved were quite magnificent. Rose Royce's performance was particularly highly polished. Howard Hewett, of Shalamar, can sing any of the newer Soul Singers into oblivion. He is a genius in my humble opinion, whilst Jeffrey Daniels can still do the moonwalk to perfection. Tavares and the Real Thing were quite excellent, however, the group who stole the day, sorry evening, for me were Chic. Nile Rogers has discovered two real gems of singers in Sylver Sharp and Jessica Wagner. These women have fantastic voices, highly disciplined and Soulful. There is a second DVD that accompanies the concert disc, that has background material relating to the show. All in all, a lovely surprise and worth adding to your music shelves. Nicely filmed, great sound and thoroughly enjoyable.
2004 sees the return of this concert, including Chic again, along with the Pointer Sisters, Candi Staton, The fantastic Emotions, The Three Degrees, Evelyn King and Boney M. Something for everyone there. The shows are in October.
Check the site at: http://www.dvdisc.co.uk or call freephone 0800 328 9623 for a copy.
...there is an excellent retrospective DVD available here, entitled 'Tom Dowd, The Language Of Music' (click on the image)...