Celluloid Improvisations logo Jazz on Film Mark Cantor

The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi “Lord, Show Me”

T.V. Gospel Time was a rather amazing television series, produced and syndicated during the 1962-66 television seasons. Since all of the performers were African-American, one can assume that most of the television stations that shared the series had large black audiences, probably located in the South, and in northern and western urban areas. There were 66 episodes in total, all featuring black talent. The structure of each program was similar, with a guest soloist who often acted as host; a vocal choir drawn from the area in which the program was being filmed; and a featured vocal combo. Among the guests and vocal groups appearing in the series are Sister Rosetta Shape, The Soul Stirrers, The Blind Boys of Alabama, James Cleveland, Ruth Brown and The Dixie Hummingbirds.

The programs were produced on 1” videotape, then kinescoped to make the prints used for syndication. Unlike many other kinescopes from the period, a great deal of attention was paid to quality, and film prints of the series look and sound terrific today.

The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi was formed in 1936 by four students who were attending the Piney Woods School. (The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, well represented on film, was another group to grow out of the Academy.) With changes in personnel, the group continued to tour into the 1980s! Here we share an electrifying performance by the group, LORD SHOW ME.

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