Al Jolson: My Mammy


My Mammy


Al Jolson (vocals)


Al Jolson – The Essential Recordings (Cleopatra Records 759)

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Al Jolson (vocals),

and unknown band


Composed by Walter Donaldson, Sam M. Lewis & Joe Young


Recorded: Unknown location, 1927


Rating: 72/100 (learn more)

"Leave my house!" a cantor banishes his musically wayward son, played by Al Jolson in Hollywood's The Jazz Singer (1927). At the film's finale, Jolson—now a famous blackface entertainer—genuflects to one knee to milk the pathos of "My Mammy." This iconic calumny, circulated worldwide, made Jolson the USA's most visible Jim Crow since that minstrel caricature's 1828 invention, reinforcing racist stereotypes that should've been flushed into history's septic tank. By false association, Jolson smeared jazz in the same way he applied burnt cork to his face: selfishly, thoughtlessly and unforgivably. Not even Nazi propaganda minister Dr. Joseph Goebbels in all his infamy could've devised a more noxiously anti-American image.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz


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