TIME LIFE has released, Jubilee Showcase, 36 raw, live performances from the Emmy® Award winning 1960s TV concert series, Jubilee Showcase, as a streaming-only album for the first time. Fans of traditional gospel music can listen globally on over 300 digital service providers such as Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora. The tracks feature some of the biggest Gospel acts of the era such as The Staple Singers and the group that first brought R&B star Sam Cooke fame, The Soul Stirrers.
The songs echo with the hope and the hopelessness many felt at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. There’s The Staple Singers’ bluesy “Why Am I Treated So Bad?” which they recorded after seeing news reels of how black students were spat on and harassed for integrating Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. Mavis Staples has said that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. always requested that the group sing it when he saw they were on the same church program.
There are other stunning tracks by Andraé Crouch & The Disciples, The Salem Travelers, The Norfleet Brothers, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Otis Clay, The Barrett Sisters, and The Jessy Dixon Singers, The Caravans, Albertina Walker, The Soul Stirrers Shirley Caesar, Rev. James Cleveland and Inez Andrews.
The audio was extracted from the original video files of the show’s creator/host, Sid Ordower who was a civil and labor rights activist in Chicago. It was at protest rallies that Ordower, a white man of Jewish heritage, first heard Gospel music. He felt that it was so integral to the racism battle that he was inspired to launch “Jubilee Showcase” to bring the inspiring music to a larger audience. With the financial backing of Al Abrams Pontiac, he convinced WLS TV Channel 7, an ABC network affiliate in Chicago, to run the program.It aired from 1963-1984. At its height of popularity, the show attracted 250,000 weekly viewers and it was a launching pad for many Gospel acts just as “Soul Train” was for R&B acts. “He had no life outside of activism,” Ordower’s son, Steve says. “He was 100% mission driven and the TV show was an extension of that mission. He wanted these great artists to have that big platform.”