A Harlem folk tale in modern guise- so one might characterize this story of two sides of the coin in an independent,...

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TAMBOURINES TO GLORY

A Harlem folk tale in modern guise- so one might characterize this story of two sides of the coin in an independent, non-denominational religious racket. Two women on relief -- one a lusty realist, took her sex where she could get it, used what funds she had to ""buy"" her man (preferably young and good looking), and came up with the idea of putting on an act on a street corner using religion in free wheeling style; the other whose chief characteristic was sheer indolence, liked to sit better than to stand, but was at heart, sincere, well-meaning and honest. A tambourine to accompany the singing -- and collect the sheckels; a gift of gab and high sounding phrases in the best Billy Sunday tradition, a soulful voice and a soulful appearance, these were their stock in trade. But when Laura took on a youngman with ideas, she progressed from street corner to a two room Garden of Eden, then to refurbished ex theatre, while the crowds grew and the money flowed. Laura doled it out to her Charlie; Essie put it into good works- and to her preparations for her teen-age daughter to come North. And a few people got religion. That it ends on a note of melodrama bordering on tragedy somehow fails to touch the heartstrings. But the telling in the vernacular has its poetic overtones and its sense of authenticity.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 1958

ISBN: 0767923278

Page Count: -

Publisher: John Day

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1958