“… In New Orleans where I lived as a child, I remember singing as I scrubbed the floors. It would make the work go easier. When the old people weren’t home, I’d turn on a Bessie Smith record. And play it over and over… Bessie is my favourite, but I never let people know I listened to her.
Mamie Smith has a prettier voice, but Bessie’s had more soul in it. She dug right down and kept it in you. Her music haunted you even when she stopped singing.”
Mahalia Jackson, extract from Too Close to Heaven, The History of Gospel Music by Viv Broughton