THE MANDRELL FAMILY ALBUM by Louise & Ace Collins Mandrell


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Someone once said that before the first Christmas, there was music but nothing about which really to sing. Then, in a manger in Bethlehem, God gave the world a song. On Christmas Day, 1948, God gave the world someone who loves to sing songs--my sister, Barbara."" So begins this memoir by middle Mandrell sister Louise, who traces the career of her beloved older sister, clean-living country-superstar Barbara, as well as her own slow rise to solo celebrity. The three sisters--drummer Irlene is the youngest--were raised in Texas ""with the philosophy that God was first, the family second; and the individual last."" So when precocious Barbara became a pre-teen celebrity with her guitar-playing and singing on TV and in Las Vegas, Mom and Dad soon joined in as the Mandrell Family Band, ""one of the first American groups on an independent tour to perform in the Mekong Delta area."" And later on, after Barbara's marriage and semi-retirement, gospel music reunited the family, launching Barbara into her starry adult career, with Louise and Irlene playing in her band--though Louise's private life was a source of despair (two abbreviated marriages), and her attempts at solo recording flopped. (""I didn't have my life together at all. Meanwhile, my older sister had everything together. I never once resented Barbara for this. . . . "") But then Louise found a happy third marriage; the sisters were reunited on a popular TV variety series (""I honestly believe that her two kid sisters were two of the big reasons why she agreed to do the show""); and Louise finally moved on to satisfying--if fatiguing--independent success. Sincere and straightforward: a sure bet for Barbara's fans as well as Louise's.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1983
Publisher: Nelson