In 1975 Vestal recorded the first in a number of fine solo albums, culminating in 19 in a pair of discs that saw her performing with friends such as Ce Ce Winans, George Jones, Dolly Parton and Vince Gill.
Performing in her husband's outfit, the Happy Goodman Family, she sold millions of albums, won two Grammy Awards and in 1998 was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
An exciting stage performer once described as "a walking, talking electrical storm in a beaded gown", she was known for her elaborate hairdos and an omnipresent white handkerchief that she would wave at audiences.
Prohibited interracial sexual contact underlies the visual joke in an early narrative film, Edwin S.
Porter's What Happened in the Tunnel (1903), in which a white man flirts with a white woman on a train, but when he tries to kiss her as the train goes through a tunnel, the woman changes seats with her African American maid, who receives the kiss.