You’ll hear echoes of Mahalia Jackson in Georgia Louis’ version of “Move on Up a Little Higher.”
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Opal Louis Nations is one of the great gospel music historians and collectors in the world. He’s written a massive catalogue books, liner notes, magazine articles and radio shows featuring the best of gospel. He’s a legendary researcher, too – finding the most obscure recording groups and artists ... and making them come alive.One such discovery is Georgia Louis, who recorded 10 tracks for two tiny gospel labels in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, then disappeared from gospel music... but not from Opal! Georgia recorded for the Fairfield and Spiritual labels in Stanford, Connecticut, the brainchild of DJ Carlo Martingoni and his wife Naomi. The Martingonis had great ears for talent – Louis is a marvelous singer, with a rich alto that will remind you of a young Mahalia Jackson – but little money or financing, the labels soon folded.After her too-short recording career, Louis joined the Freedom Riders of the early ‘60s and had many harrowing adventures, became a popular performer singing in theatrical productions in the United Kingdom, and finally became a voice teacher in the 1980s, teaching the new generation of gospel singers! Here, from 1959, is her first recording, a rousing version of Mahalia’s “Move on Up a Little Higher.” MUSIC: “Move on Up a Little Higher,” Georgia Louis, 45 I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.