Bayou Maharajah (18)

The Tragic Genius of James Booker

james booker

From the archive

This film was last shown on 24 July 2016

James Carroll Booker III was born in Charity Hospital in 1939 and he died there in 1983. In between, Booker’s life was an odyssey of brilliance and self-sabotage, a perfect-pitch voice saddled with broken dentures. He was an R&B child prodigy, a Dew Drop Inn stuffer, an open homosexual, a magnificent wordsmith and interpreter, a life-changing blessing and train wreck for countless friends and associates. Technically, his work confounds classification but continues to fascinate fellow musicians. If there were a New Orleans piano player Mt. Rushmore, Booker would be on it.


Lily Keber
90 mins


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