The Online Roots of Rock

The Online Roots of Rock
JUKEBOX CLIP
Robert Johnson - I Believe I'll Dust My Broom
1923

Robert Johnson
April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937


"Empress of the Blues"
— Columbia Records Promotion

Bessie Smith
Down Hearted Blues Bessie Smith Columbia
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
LEFT: After losing her father, mother and a brother, Bessie Smith joined a travelling minstrel troupe as a teenager in 1912 and within ten years had become one of the most popular Blues singers in the American South. LEFT CENTER: Bessie signed with Columbia Records in 1923. Her first recording, Down Hearted Blues was a huge hit that made Bessie the headliner wherever she performed. RIGHT CENTER: Through the 1920s Bessie became the best of the Classic Blues singers and the highest-paid black performer of her day. RIGHT: Bessie's sophisticated phrasing and timing pushed Blues towards Jazz, and was a huge influence on early Jazz singers. She is remembered as the "Empress of the Blues."

“. . . the greatest of all female Blues singers.”
— Chris Albertson. Bessie (Stein & Day: 1972)


Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was born in 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He father was a part-time Baptist preacher who died when she was an infant.
EARLY LIFE.
By the time she was nine she had also lost her mother and a brother.To earn money she sang and danced on street corners.
In 1912 she joined a travelling minstrel troupe and worked alongside Ma Rainey, who befriended, and undoubtedly influenced, Bessie.
VAUDEVILLE PROFESSIONAL.
Bessie subsequently sang with numerous troupes through the decade and, by the early 1920s, had developed her own act to become one of the most popular Blues singers in vaudeville.
DOWN HEARTED BLUES.
She signed with Columbia Records in 1923 and began her recording career. Her first release, Down Hearted Blues, was a song written and recorded a year earlier by Alberta Hunter on the Paramount label.
Bessie's version of Down Hearted Blues became a huge hit, quickly selling 750,000 copies.1 With this success she became the show headliner wherever she appeared and the highest-paid black performer of her day.
BEST OF THE CLASSIC BLUES SINGERS.
Bessie Smith is considered the best of the Classic Blues singers. She enjoyed unmatched success through the 1920s until about 1929, the onset of the Great Depression.
In the mid 1930s, at the dawn of Swing, she was developing into a Swing singer prior to her untimely death in 1937, in a car accident.
She died September 26, 1937, at the age of forty-three.

* * *

Bessie's sophisticated timing and phrasing pushed Blues toward Jazz, especially when back by Jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins and Fletcher Henderson.
She recorded 160 songs with Columbia, three of which — Down Hearted Blues (1923), St. Louis Blues (1925) and Empty Bed Blues (1928) — were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Bessie Smith was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
She is remembered as the "Empress of the Blues."


1 Bessie sang Down Hearted Blues with only the accompaniment of Jazz pianist Clarence Williams. Williams sought out Bessie for this recording session as he was the composer of Gulf Coast Blues, the song on the flip side of this record. Williams wrote many Jazz/Blues standards, including My Bucket's Got a Hole In It, popularized by many artists from Buddy Bolden (c1905) through Hank Williams (1949) to Ricky Nelson(1958).

Copyright © 2012 Gary Wilcox Studios Incorporated.
Please credit :
The Online Roots of Rock


.Featured Sites .

Bessie Smith Blues Hall of Fame website
Bessie SmithRock and Roll Hall of Fame website
Bessie Smith
inducted 1980
inducted 1989
bio

Other Recommended Bessie Smith Sites
Red Hot Jazz
bio / discography


 

Click on any link below for more information, or to order online

Bessie
Bessie Smith
Blues Empress
in Black Chattanooga
Bessie Chris Albertson
Bessie Smith Elaine Feinstein
Bessie Smith Blues Empress Michelle R Scott
Yale Universty Press
336 pages
revised 2005
by Chris Albertson
Viking Adult
112 pages
1986
by Elaine Feinstein
Bessie Smith and the Emerging Urban South
by Michelle R Scott


Bessie Smith
Empress of the Blues
Bessie Smith
Songbook
Blues Legacies and Black Feminism
Bessie Smith Chris Albertson
Bessie Smith Songbook
Bessie Smith - Blues Legacies and Black Feminism Angela Y Davis
Bio, Discography and Song Sheets
by Chris Albertson and Gunther Schuller
38 songs with bio, discography and photos
by Bessie Smith
Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday
by Angela Y Davis



Click on any link below for more information, or to order online

Bessie Smith
The Collection
Bessie Smith
The Complete Columbia Recordings
Bessie Smith
Greatest Hits
Bessie Smith - The Collection cd
Bessie Smith - The Complete Columbia Recordings cd
Bessie Smith - Greatest Hits cd
Sony
1 CD / 16 tracks
1990
also mp3s
Sony Legacy
Box Set / 10 CDs
November 2012
Fabulous
2 CDs / 49 tracks
2005
also mp3s


Bessie Smith
Martin Scorsese
Presents the Blues
Bessie Smith
The Complete Recordings
Bessie Smith
The Complete Recordings
Bessie Smith - Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues
Bessie Smith - The Complete Recordings - Sony cd
Bessie Smith - The Complete Recordings - Frog cd
Sony
1 CD / 15 tracks
2003
also mp3s
Sony
2-CD volumes
Volume 1 / 38 tracks
Volume 2 / 37 tracks
Volume 3 / 39 tracks
Volume 4 / 40 tracks
also mp3s
Frog (UK)
Volume 1 / 23 tracks
Volume 2 / 22 tracks
Volume 3 / xx tracks
Volume 4 / xx tracks
Volume 5 / 23 tracks
Volume 6 / 22 tracks
Volume 7 / xx tracks
Volume 8 / 19 tracks


The Blues
Blues Legends'
Bessie Smith - The Blues dvd
Storyville Films
2007
49 minutes
info / order
VHS | DVD


.YouTube Videos .
Bessie Smith appeared in only one film, St Louis Blues (1929).
Click here
(intro) and here (Bessie singing) to see Bessie Smith
in YouTube clips from this film
Click here to enjoy Bessie Smith images and songs
posted on YouTube



The Online Roots of Rock
The Online Roots of Rock

The Online Roots of Rock
100 Years of Popular Music in America
from a Rock 'n' Roll perspective

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