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Today the Praise 1300 Family shining the spotlight of Gospel Singer Cissy Houston on her BIRTHDAY!!!! Here is a brief bio:

Born Emily Drinkard in Newark, New Jersey to Nitcholas and Delia Mae Drinkard (née McCaskill), she was the eighth child; older siblings were her brothers William, Hansom, Nicky, and Larry, and sisters Lee, Marie and Anne. Houston’s father Nitcholas Drinkard was born to Susan Bell (called Delia) Drinkard (née Fuller), of Dutch and African-American descent. His father John Drinkard, Jr., was of Native American and African descent The Drinkards had owned a substantial amount of farmland in Blakely, Georgia, during a time when it was unusual for blacks to own large portions of land. The asset was gradually depleted as they sold small portions of the land over time, to resolve the continued legal troubles of a close relative.

After Houston’s three oldest siblings were born, the family relocated to New Jersey during the Second Great Migration. Her parents emphasized the children getting educated and being involved in the church, and her father encouraged Houston and her siblings to sing. In 1938 when Houston was five years old, her mother, Delia, suffered a stroke and died of cerebral hemorrhage three years later.

Her father died of stomach cancer in 1951 when Houston was 18.Cissy and her siblings went to live with her older sister Lee and her husband Mancel Warwick. The Warwicks had three children: a son, Mancel Warwick Jr. and two daughters Dionne Warwick andDee Dee Warwick. Renowned soprano Leontyne Price is a Drinkard cousin.

In 1969, Houston signed a recording contract with Commonwealth United Records and recorded her solo debut Presenting Cissy Houston which was released in 1970. It contained several well received singles, including covers of “I’ll Be There” and “Be My Baby“, both of which made the R&B charts.

Following the release of her debut album, Houston’s contract was sold to Janus Records in 1970.She recorded another album and several more singles in the early 1970s, which included the original recording of Jim Weatherly‘s “Midnight Train to Georgia” in 1972, later a number one hit for Gladys Knight & The Pips.She continued to record with Janus Records until 1975.

In 1977, Houston was signed by Private Stock Records, working with arranger/producer Michael Zager on three albums. The second included her big disco hit “Think It Over”, which climbed to #32 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1979. She represented USA at the World Popular Song Festival in 1979 with a track called “You’re the Fire”, landing second place and winning the “Most Outstanding Performance Award”. This also appeared on her 1980 disco-flavored album, Step Aside for a Lady, again produced by Zager, but released onColumbia Records (on EMI in the United Kingdom).

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