Got to Tell it

Got to Tell it : Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel

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Description

Mahalia Jackson was one of the greatest gospel singers America has ever known, the woman who almost single handedly brought black gospel from the churches of Chicago into the public eye. In Got To Tell It, Jules Schwerin, creator of an Emmy award-winning film documentary on Mahalia, brings us a firsthand account of Jackson's life and career, based on his interviews with the Queen of Gospel herself. Schwerin traces her rise from the banks of the Mississippi Delta, to the neighborhood churches of Chicago with her partner Thomas A. Dorsey (the Father of Gospel), to international fame. He delves into the personality of Mahalia, who was both a woman whose spiritual charisma uplifted thousands of souls--whether through radio or recordings, public or private performances--and also a woman who was stingy with her money, and even fired her longtime companion and accompanist Mildred Falls when she asked for a much-deserved raise. From Mahalia's first appearance on the Studs Terkel radio show, to her performance at Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, Second March on Washington, Schwerin brings to life the woman that he and those close to her came to know. Complete with a discography of her recordings, here is an unforgettable portrait of the woman who brought gospel to the world.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 214 pages
  • 134.62 x 200.66 x 12.7mm | 204.12g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • frontispiece, halftones
  • 0195090500
  • 9780195090505

About Jules Schwerin

About the Author Jules Schwerin is an independent filmmaker living in New York.show more

Review Text

Engaging biography of the great gospel singer who was the first to cross over to a large white audience. Schwerin was an independent filmmaker when, in 1955, he was dazzled by heating Mahalia Jackson and determined to do a documentary on her. He managed to befriend the notoriously headstrong singer, and she drove him around New Orleans in her lavender Cadillac showing him the scenes of her girlhood. Jackson, Schwerin tells us, was born in a shotgun shack in "back'a town," which spread along railroad tracks, the levee, and the Mississippi. As a child, she worked with her aunt for a white family, and by eighth grade was also putting in five hours a day as a laundress. Sundays, she sang in the Mount Moriah Baptist Church, whose congregation would often walk to the levee singing "Let's Go Down to the River Jordan." Determined to seek her fortune, the aspiring singer moved to Chicago, where her career was launched when Studs Terkel invited her to sing on his radio show. Jackson's childhood poverty caused her to accept only cash - she often left a concert with $5,000 pinned inside her brassiere - but it also seemed to affect her character adversely: She was so tightfisted, Schwerin says, that she fired her longtime accompanist, Mildred Fall, who asked for a raise to $300 a week at a time when Jackson was earning up to $7,000 a night. Schwerin provides a well-told background of the years of the civil-rights struggle and of Jackson's passionate involvement, which found its apogee at the second March on Washington, where she sang her signature "I Been 'Buked and I Been Scorned" right before Martin Luther King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. A fine biography, and a valuable contribution to the too-sparse literature on gospel music. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

8 ratings
3 out of 5 stars
5 12% (1)
4 12% (1)
3 50% (4)
2 12% (1)
1 12% (1)
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