Jackie Shane, A Transgender Soul Pioneer, Re-Emerges After Four Decades

In August 2016, Douglas Mcgowan arrived at a modest brick house near central Nashville with a contract and the faint hope of a face-to-face meeting with the home’s mysterious occupant.

Mr. Mcgowan, a scout for the archival record label the Numero Group, was looking for Jackie Shane, a venerated but misunderstood soul singer who had not been seen in public in nearly five decades. He had obtained Ms. Shane’s phone number three years earlier through a friend of hers, and the pair had developed what felt like a genuine long distance friendship — he engaged her on current affairs over lengthy, discursive phone calls and steered clear of prying personal questions; she teased him with a nickname, “Hot lips,” and told him he sounded short.

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