Marion Williams - I'm Going To Live The Life I Sing About... Video

Roleplay | Writing Forum | Viral news today | Music Theory
Time2 min
Views: 20134
with the Stars of Faith, "I'm Going To Live The Life I Sing About In My Song"
from the early 60s TV show "Hotenanny", hosted by Jack Linkletter.
The episode containing this performance first aired 9/28/1963, from the University of Pittsburgh. She did two songs on this show.
By Robert Santelli:
Gospel has been the main source of vocal inspiration for American popular music in the twentieth century. Nearly every great black vocalist, male or female, first learned to sing in church. Many left the sacred world for the economic opportunity and stardom that beckoned from beyond the pews and altars, but they took the gospel vocal tradition with them. Sam Cooke, Clyde McPhatter, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston—the list is long. Yet many others stayed in the church, preferring to sing praise to Jesus than to cross over and become a pop singer. Mahalia Jackson was one such gospel singer. Marion Williams was another.
The sacred themes and religiosity of gospel music were, and remain, removed from the more wide‑open issues of carnal love, material gain and other earthly delights that fill popular music. But the manner of singing, the way that gospel singers celebrate the path to Heaven, has so infiltrated pop music that sometimes it's impossible to distinguish one singing style from the other. That is why Williams, for one, has been called "the equal of any blues singer alive" by Jon Pareles of the New York Times and "among the greatest of jazz singers" by esteemed jazz critic Whitney Balliett in the New Yorker.
Gospel music critic Lopate believes Williams' close connection to blues and jazz came from her need to go beyond the norm. "Marion always flirted with danger when she was really improvising," says Lopate. "She might not have had the pop sensibility of, say, Aretha Franklin, but Marion could take a song and remake it so that the lines that exist between gospel and the blues, or gospel and jazz, were totally erased. In that respect, she was an absolute vocal genius."
Producer Heilbut agrees. "I'd watch Marion again and again play with the rhythm of a song and change it in a way that made absolute musical sense. There was a blues essence in her style, particularly her phrasing, which, in my opinion, was unequalled."
Williams also had such a wide vocal range, adds Heilbut, that she could hit soprano notes and growl like a blues woman, practically at the same time. "Her range of musical colors was remarkable, and she would never sing a number the same way twice. Marion used to say, 'If you want someone to repeat herself, I'm the world's worst.' Well, that had a lot to do with why she was the world's best."
All of this is true. But if you've never heard Marion Williams sing, most likely the sheer drama of her vocal style will touch you first. The fact that Williams could hit the highest notes and then suddenly drop two octaves or intonate with strains of deep blues or turn her voice into a wildly improvisational instrument the way Louis Armstrong did with his trumpet all added up to an intensely dramatic redemption of spirit and soul.
Tags church, gospel, marionwilliams, sanctified, stars-of-faith

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