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Big Maybelle - 'Saga Of The Good Life & Hard Times' [CD]
Big Maybelle - 'Saga Of The Good Life & Hard Times' [CD]
Big Maybelle - 'Saga Of The Good Life & Hard Times' [CD]
Big Maybelle - 'Saga Of The Good Life & Hard Times' [CD]

Big Maybelle

Saga Of The Good Life & Hard Times



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Product Details
Born Mabel Louise Smith in Jackson, Tennessee, Big Maybelle sang gospel as a child, and by her teens had switched to rhythm and blues. She began her professional career with Dave Clark's Memphis Band in 1936, and also toured with the all female International Sweethearts of Rhythm. She then joined Christine Chatman's Orchestra as pianist, and made her first recordings with Chatman in 1944, and with the Tiny Bradshaw's Orchestra from 1947 to 1950.

Her debut solo recordings, as Mabel Smith, came for King Records in 1947, backed by Oran "Hot Lips" Page, but she had little initial success. However, in 1952 she was signed by Okeh Records, whose record producer Fred Mendelsohn gave her the stage name Big Maybelle. Her first recording for Okeh, "Gabbin' Blues", was a number 3 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and was followed up by both "Way Back Home" and "My Country Man" in 1953. In 1955 she recorded "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On", produced by Quincy Jones, two years before Jerry Lee Lewis' version. More hits followed throughout the 1950s, mainly for Savoy Records, including one of her biggest sellers entitled which helped lead to Big Maybelle receiving the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999.

She made the stage of the Apollo Theater in New York City; the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival; and she appeared in Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960), filmed at the Newport Jazz Festival, along with Mahalia Jackson and Dinah Washington. After 1959 she recorded for a variety of labels and continued to perform in person into the early 1960s, when drug addiction and health problems took their toll on her. Sadly, Big Maybelle died in a diabetic coma in 1972, in a Cleveland, Ohio hospital.

Her album "Saga of the Good Life and Hard Times" released on Rojac Records in 1966 has been described as "a mix of soul and blues, sung with despair, taken from her last recording sessions.
Track Listing & Audio