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7
3.3 out of 5 stars
Just Mahalia, Baby
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this lengthy story many years ago. In the meantime I was privileged to meet one of Mahalia's former pianists, Rev. J. D. Strawther, who is so listed in the book. Hearing Strawther's chronicle of his experience with the powerful singer made the book come alive to me. I am a very strong admirer of the late Clara Ward, and enjoyed reading, from Mahalia's viewpoint, about the relationship of the Ward Singers and Miss Jackson.
It is extremely admiral to see how that Mahalia pulled herself up by her own bootstraps in a day and time when that was very difficult, and given her problem with timing in regards to her vocal singing. It must have taken a lot of courage for Laurraine to write the good, the bad and the ugly; and some instances were rather disappointing. But she wrote as she was instructed, "Don't make me no saint, baby."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I first bought the hardback copy in, I think, 1975. It was a labor of love reading this extensive work, as Mahalia Jackson requested this book in response to "a vast wave of dissatisfaction" with much in print about herself. Moreover, I finally did contact Laurraine Goreau and spoke with her on the phone about her work, Mahalia, and other issues. Ms. Goreau was candid, warm, and helpful. Her book was taken from extensive interviews with luminaries such as Jacqueline Onassis, Studs Terkel, Irving Townsend (Columbia record producer) and many others. She incorporated actual tape recordings she had made with Mahalia since 1967. The story begins at the early 20th century in New Orleans and details Jackson's life and the culture surrounding her. It elaborates extensively on her mystical life and visionary state. We as readers follow her through the streets of New Orleans, Jim Crow life, the Baptist and Sanctified Churches, the dinner table, the Mississippi River, the Crackerjack (Voodoo store), the Catholic Church making novenas, etc., and thus we discover that Mahalia was a woman eclectically motivated and exposed to multicultural forces. She was extremely complex, intelligent, self-actualized, and as the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca stated "in harmony with her own nature." The train trip to Chicago, the decades of struggling to make ends meet, failed marriages, Thomas Dorsey, Carnegie Hall, Europe, Africa, India, and Japan are only a few events that shed intriguing insights into the psyche of this extraordinary woman. Her anxieties, illnesses, and temper shed further light on the broader scope of her personality. This book is an interesting cultural as well as psychological study of Mahalia Jackson. At the end, the reader has the sense that, as Seneca stated, "The conclusion is, not that hardships are desirable, but that virtue is desirable, which enables us patiently to endure hardships" (Epistle LXVII). Mahalia Jackson had more than her fair share of hardships. Her courage, humor, and determination serve to demonstrate an incredible drive to overcome. That she did!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Great biography! I have always enjoyed reading about the world's greatest singer, and this biography simply takes out all the stops and tells about the true Mahalia, in her own words. Mahalia, I miss you more and more each day, because no one sings like you or as well as you sang.
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on June 16, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Personally, to date this is the only biography an avid Mahalia Jackson fan needs in his or her library other than Mahalia's autobiography. This labor of love is the handiwork of the legendary singer's close friend and supporter, Laurraine Goreau ("Laurraines Gore" as Mahalia would say in her New Orleans brogue). Through multiple visits, interviews with family, friends, fans, musical collaborators, accompanists, husband(s), fellow entertainment legends, Ms. Goreau compiled the Mahalia Jackson story that captures the essence of the woman that has been loved the world over, even to this day - 42 years after she departed this life.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I had this book for over 20 years, and it is the DEFINITIVE
biography on Mahalia Jackson of all of them I've read in the years since her death.
As the years went on though, to make space, and to modernize my book, video, and music
collections, I've digitally been able to duplicate all of the books,
music, and videos that I've amassed.
I was delighted when I saw that Amazon. com offered this book in it's Kindle format,
as I have recently bought a Kindle Fire HD.
I was so disappointed when I went to read it, after it downloaded, and it gave me a
message of : "NOT AVAILABLE / This Version Is Not
Compatible With This Device." I thought to myself "What the....??"
To Amazon's credit, they refunded my purchase immediately, so I have
no complaints about them, other than if this book is not compatible
with the latest version of Kindle, then why is it advertised as the Kindle Version??
It should be taken down, or adjusted, so that it will be accurately represented to their customers.
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on February 21, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Why was this written in Ebonics!? It is a shame...This should be listed under Kindle Unlimited for free! I will have to find another biography for Ms. Jackson.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I've always been a huge fan of Mahalia Jackson so I was thrilled to purchase this book, but this made for a difficult read. There's no reasoning to how the author wrote this. It difficult to follow and I find it hard to believe she got it published.
I will look for another bio on Mahalia Jackson.
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