GOSPEL'S JUBILEE SHOWCASE
Featuring everyone from the youngest church performers to the most famous gospel recording artists of the time, the half-hour television series Jubilee Showcase aired on ABC’s Chicago affiliate television station, WLS, from 1963-1984. Now, for the first time, these miraculously preserved rare performances have been compiled into a true ‘best-of’ program, including performances from Grammy®-Award winner Albertina Walker and The Caravans, The Soul Stirrers, and Grammy®-Award winners Pop and Mavis Staples and The Staple Singers — all gospel music pioneers.
The Jubilee Showcase archive is the single largest collection of historic gospel music television footage in the world, consisting of 100 half-hour programs that have never been seen by a national audience. Sid Ordower, a civil rights activist from Chicago who launched the series 50 years ago, had little idea that he was building such a comprehensive collection, let alone a vital piece of American musical history. The weekly Sunday morning program, which won a National Emmy Award for a “Pioneering Project in Television,” provided spiritual nourishment for thousands of churchgoers during the 60s, 70s and early 80s. For people who grew up with this music, it will be a joyous experience to not only hear these amazing artists perform but to see them perform as well. And those who are not familiar with this musical genre will be captivated by the intensely passionate, genuine expression of spirit these artists exude.
Host Clifton Davis, star of the vintage TV sitcoms Amen and That’s My Mama and composer of “Never Can Say Goodbye” by The Jackson 5, grew up listening to many of the artists on Jubilee Showcase. The program presents full performance clips and short interview segments from some of the greats who appeared on the show, including Albertina Walker, Otis Clay and Willie Rogers of The Soul Stirrers. Mavis Staples speaks about a specific song Dr. Martin Luther King loved, “Why Am I Treated So Bad.” She goes on to sing a bit of this song, and her interview dissolves into the rendition she gave on Jubilee Showcase.
GOSPEL’S JUBILEE SHOWCASE features Albertina Walker singing “Amazing Grace” in her first solo appearance on television, and Inez Andrews with The Caravans performing “Oh, Mary Don’t You Weep.” Other songs include “Oh, What a Meeting” and “Looking Back” from The Soul Stirrers, “Searching” by Dorothy Norwood and The Dorothy Norwood Singers, The Staple Singers with “Why Am I Treated So Bad” and “Willing to Wait” sung by The Caravans.