Singer Cissy Houston is not only pop singer Whitney Houston's mother and Dionne Warwick's aunt. She's also a highly regarded studio session vocalist who on her own, and with her group, the Sweet Inspirations, has backed the likes of Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Carmen McRae and Herbie Mann.
And she's a life-long gospel singer who for 18 years has been director of the radio choir of the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J.
Dave Davidson's somewhat slow "Cissy Houston: Sweet Inspiration" (tonight at 10 on Channel 28) explores all of these facets at least casually, if not in detail. A good portion of the film is made up of interviews with Houston, her daughter, her sisters (as children they all were members of the Drinkard--Houston's maiden name--Singers gospel group), Warwick, Franklin, singer Luther Vandross and producer Jerry Wexler and many others.
These interviews tell her story, from her early gospel career to her entrance into pop music to her work with the choir. Plenty of live performance footage provides a healthy balance.