This movie traces American Gospel music that began in the 1800's as plantation music in the southern USA to the present day with a large amount of rare, never seen footage, recordings and we hear entire length gospel songs, not short clips. Very few of these early groups such as Golden Gate Quartet, Dixie Hummingbirds, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Utica Quartet, and the Blind Boys of Alabama were part of my music education as a child. However Staple Singers, yes, were a large part of my 60's. I even went to a recording studio in 1967 in Newark New Jersey were I was told they had recorded and there were enough photos on the walls to confirm the fact.
With my meagre knowledge of this music, in this wonderful movie, I found myself swept away by the true brilliance and enthusiasm, moved in a way that most documentaries about music do have to try much harder to reel me in. This one had me in the first 2 minutes as that little girl sang Amazing Grace, sitting in a church with aunts and family around her. Yes it had me there.
I was able to see Mavis Staple at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 2009, and this is one photo I took of her at that time. I will hunt up links to reviews and songs as I find them.
a photographer talks
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