LG055 Interview: Gwen Lightner (LG055Goreau_Side1)
Side 1 and 2: Interview with Gwen Lightner on 1972-09-19 in Los Angeles. Abstract for Lightner: [00:00–30:43] Pianist Gwen Lightner, speaking from Los Angeles, California on September 19, 1972, describes when she first arrived in Chicago and met composer and songwriter Emma L. Jackson – 2:19. Lightner discusses the time she spent working at Emma's studio. Lightner describes meeting Mahalia when the singer was working at a Chicago beauty shop, where Mahalia spent time with composer Emma L. Jackson – 6:18. She shares that it was Emma L. Jackson, not Thomas Dorsey, who wrote "Precious Lord" and that Dorsey credited Emma Jackson as the writer when he spoke at a convention in Pittsburgh, PA – 8:18. Lightner and Goreau discuss Mahalia's talent as a beautician and her husband Ike and Mahalia's early singing engagements at storefront churches. Lightner describes the first time she played piano for Mahalia when the regular accompanist was unavailable – 12:57. Lightner speaks of Mahalia's psychic experiences and visions – 18:57; how birds symbolized death to her – 24:00; and her fear of dying in Germany – 28:58. [00:00 - 30:42] The interview continues on LG055Goreau_Side2 with Lightner discussing the development of Mahalia Jackson's first recording sessions in Los Angeles and the assembling of Jackson's studio backing group. Lightner and Goreau go on to discuss several of Mahalia's romantic relationships. Lightner mentions Jackson's concern regarding the safety of her money earnings and fear that people were interested in her only for her money – 19:02. Lightner reiterates how she met Mahalia as a teenager in Chicago and relates a story of how Mahalia was "discovered" – 21:54.