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Moms Mabley - Now Hear This 1965

On: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Moms Mabley
Loretta Mary Aiken
aka Jackie Mabley
Brevard, North Carolina, USA
Mar 19 1894 – May 23 1975 age 81

“Moms” Mabley was one of twelve children born to Jim Aiken, a grocery store owner, and his wife. The great grand-daughter of a slave, Mabiey was of mixed black, Irish, and Cherokee heritage. Very little is known about her early years. Some accounts have her running away and joining a minstrel show at the age of fourteen because her father forced her to marry an older man while she told one interviewer that she was an unwed mother in her early teens. “We didn’t get married up in the mountains,” Mabiey remarked in Women in Comedy};.”I did get engaged two or three times, but they always wanted a free sample. That’s how I got stuck.”
While researching Mabiey for the play Moms, in the mid-eighties, actress Clarice Taylor discovered that Mabiey had been raped at the age of eleven by an older black man and then again two years later by the town’s white sheriff. Both rapes resulted in pregnancies and the children were given away for adoption. More hardship followed when Mabley’s father, who was also a volunteer fireman, was killed when a fire engine exploded and her mother was run over by a truck while returning home from church on Christmas Day. Although it is unclear whether Mabley was ever forced to marry a man against her will, arranged marriage became a staple of her comedy act. “My daddy liked him so I had to marry that old man,” she’d say. “He was the nearest to death you’ve ever seen in your life. His shadow weighed more than he did. He got out of breath threading a needle. And ugleeee! He was so ugly he hurt my feelings...He was so weak, when we got married somebody threw one grain of rice and it knocked him out.”
At the age of fourteen, Mabley left North Carolina to seek her fortune as an entertainer. “I was pretty and didn’t want to become a prostitute,” she’s quoted as saying in Funny Women, about her decision to go into show business. She could sing, dance, and tell a joke, which made her popular on the black vaudeville circuit, the Theatre Owners Booking Association (TOBA), which toured the South in the tradition of the pre-Civil War minstrel shows. Although Mabley was a capable singer and dancer, her primary strength was comedy and she would often appear in skits with other performers. While performing on the TOBA circuit, she met Jack Mabley, another entertainer who became her boyfriend. After a brief relationship, she took his name and began to perform as Jackie Mabley. “Jack was my first boyfriend,” Mabley recalled to Ebony in 1974. “I was real uptight with him and he certainly was real uptight with me; you’d better believe. He took a lot off me and the least I could do was take his name.” Source:

01 Now Hear This! Part I 14:45
02 Now Hear This! Part II 16:45

Mercury – SR 61012

Her other albums on this blog are "tagged" at the bottom of this post
& Pigmeat Markham - Laugh Time
I Like 'Em Young 1972
Live At The Apollo 1994
Moms At The Mich 1975
Moms' Dream 1991
Tivoli Theater
Mom Mabley Sings 1969
It's Your Thing 1969
The World's Prayer 1973


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