British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Too Close to Heaven: A History of Black Gospel Music (3 Parts)

Synopsis
Professor Horace Boyer traces the development of gospel music, using footage of live performances and interviews, from it West African roots and the spirituals sung by slaves in the American South through to today’s thriving music industry. Also examines the links between gospel music and the American civil rights movement. In three 60-minute parts: 1) Slaves mixed the hymns of their white masters with the music of their West African homeland; these early freedom songs served as political rallying cries. Contributors include Jesse Jackson; 2) Gospel music through the Great Depression, the birth of rock ‘n’ roll and into the 1960s. Features archive film of Tommy Dorsey, who brought gospel blues into the Baptist Church; Mahalia Jackson and Albertina Walker, who went on the road with gospel in the segregated South; and early soul performers including Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke.
3) How gospel music has changed since the 1960s, from its links with the civil rights movement to the influence of soul and the way Motown updated the gospel sound. With footage of Mahalia Jackson, and an interview with Jesse Jackson.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Video; Videocassettes. VHS. col. 180 min.
Year of production
1996
Availability
Sale; 2000 sale: £25.00 (inclusive)
Notes
Broadcast on C4 from 4/8/96.
Subjects
Music
Keywords
black communities; civil rights movements; gospel music; United States of America

Credits

Director
Alan Lewens
Producer
Leo St Clair
Cast
Horace Boyer 

Production Company

Name

International Broadcasting Trust

Phone
020 7482 2847
Fax
020 7284 3374
Address
London
NW1 8EE

Sponsor

Name

Channel Four Television

Phone
071-396 4444
Address
LONDON
SW1P 2TX

Distributor

Name

CTVC Video

Email
ctvc@ctc.co.uk
Web
http://www.ctvc.co.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 8950 4426
Fax
020 8950 1437
Address
Hillside Studios
Merry Hill Road
Bushey, Herts WD2 1DR

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