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Just Mahalia, Baby: the Mahalia Jackson Story

Goreau, Laurraine

10 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0882894412 / ISBN 13: 9780882894416
Published by Pelican, 1984, 1984
Soft cover
From Books (Nashville, TN, U.S.A.)

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softcover, very good condition, black studies, blm50. Bookseller Inventory # 17128

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Just Mahalia, Baby: the Mahalia Jackson ...

Publisher: Pelican, 1984

Publication Date: 1984

Binding: Soft cover

About this title


The queen of gospel and a symbol of integrity, Mahalia Jackson was the embodiment of an era. Accurate, well-researched, and rich with the music, faith, people, and events that sparked the spirit of the time, Just Mahalia, Baby is a fast-paced and engaging biography. From the poverty of her New Orleans childhood, where she sang in church and was exposed to the rhythms of ragtime jazz, through troubled times and triumphs, and on to Chicago, wealth, and worldwide acclaim, her biographer Laurraine Goreau chronicles Mahalia's storied life and career.

Mahalia went to receptions for presidents, sang at a freedom rally to set the mood before Martin Luther King spoke, toured the world, and remained a dedicated fighter for black people's rights. Generous and warm-hearted, she won the respect and admiration of those who knew her, whether personally or through her music.

Downbeat magazine named her one of the top four jazz vocalists along with Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan, yet she remained undaunted by fame. "Don't make me no saint, baby!" she told Laurraine Goreau. "Tell the real story of me."

From the Back Cover:

The queen of gospel and a symbol of integrity, Mahalia Jackson's story is the story of an era. Jazz was young, gospel music was strong, and Downbeat magazine had named Mahalia Jackson one of the top four vocalists in the country along with Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan.

As fast-paced and richly detailed as a novel, Mahalia's tale is revealed by her close friend and biographer Laurraine Goreau. Goreau traces the development of the gospel movement and Mahalia's central role in it, reaching back to re-create the world of the singer's youth-- rich with hidden folklore and heavily influenced by the black church.

Born poor in New Orleans, one of seven girls in an extended family, Mahalia is said to have begun her singing career at the age of four in the choir of New Orleans's Plymouth Rock Baptist Church, when her voice was "twice as big as she was". But it was in Chicago, where she moved at the age of ten, that she began her ascent to fame.

In her lifetime she befriended and earned the admiration of people as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Lyndon Johnson, Carl Sandburg, Dinah Shore and Martin Luther King, who asked her to sing before his speech at a 1966 freedom rally in Chicago. All the while, Mahalia remained undaunted by fame: "Look, I'm a gospel singer, I sing for the Lord; that's all I'm going to be."

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