The Online Roots of Rock

The Online Roots of Rock
JUKEBOX CLIP
Robert Johnson - I Believe I'll Dust My Broom
1924


Robert Johnson
April 26, 1886 – December 22, 1939


"Mother of the Blues"
— Paramount Records Promotion

ma rainey
ma rainey and rabitt fott minstrels
ma rainey - see see rider
ma rainey
LEFT: Gertrude Pridgett was born into a show business family in 1886 and started performing about 1900, at age fourteen. In 1903 she married William "Pa" Rainey and began performing as "Ma" Rainey, always wearing her trademark headband. LEFT CENTER: She travelled the minstrel/vaudeville circuits in the South with The Rabbit Foot Minstrels. RIGHT CENTER: She began recording in 1923 on the Paramount label. Her rough and earthy style differed from the more-refined style of many of the Classic Blues women. RIGHT: "Ma" Rainey is one of the earliest-known professional Blues singers and is remembered as the "Mother of the Blues."

"If there was another woman
who sang the Blues before Ma Rainey,
nobody remembered hearing her."
CHRIS ALBERTSON

Ma Rainey
Gertrude Pridgett was born into a show business family in 1886 and started working the minstrel and medicine show circuits across the American South about 1900, at age fourteen. Little is known of her eary life.
In 1903 she married vaudeville entertainer , William "Pa" Rainey, and began entertaining as "Ma" Rainey.
She was one of the first to introduce Blues to vaudeville and minstrel stages in the early 1900s and is recognized as the earliest-known professional Blues singer.
She was a stage performer for almost twenty-five years before she signed a recording contract with Paramount Records in 1923, at age 37. She recorded over a hundred songs during her six years wth Paramount.1
By the time Rainey started recording in 1923, Classic Blues had been in full swing for three years — since Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues created a sensation in 1920 and awakened a market for black music.
Rainey's raw, earthy sound introduced a rural sensitivity to the more-urbane songs of Classic Blues. A country woman at heart, her most memorable songs — See See Rider Blues,2 Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Bo Weavil Blues — the latter depicting the harsh realites in the Deep South.
Vaudeville and Classic Blues had run its course by the end of the decade. Paramount dropped Rainey in 1929, the year the Great Depression started.3
Ma Rainey was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. She's remembered as the "Mother of the Blues."


1 A note on Ma Rainey's Paramount recordings: Paramount Records was a subsidiary of a furniture company, The Wisconsin Chair Company. There's considerable surface noise on their priceless recordings because Paramount used furniture shellac instead of the more-refined recording shellac in the record manufacturing process. If you can get beyond the surface noise, these recording offer a valuable insight into why Ma Rainey is considered the "Mother of the Blues."
2
See See Rider is a play on "easy rider," an unfaithful lover. It's the archetypal Blues theme of saying goodbye. The jilted woman is saying she's leaving town and, if she finds a good man, never coming back. In 2004 Ma Rainey's See See Rider Blues was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
3 Newly-discovered rural male singers, like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters) and Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly), usurped the more-urbane female Classic Blues singers through the Depression years of the 1930s.

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The Online Roots of Rock



.Featured Sites .

Ma Rainey  Blues Hall of Fame website
Ma Rainey Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website
Ma Rainey Wikipedia website
inducted 1983
inducted 1990
bio

Other Recommended Ma Rainey Sites
Red Hot Jazz
bio and discography


 

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

Mother of the Blues
Ma Rainey's
Black Bottom
Blues Legacies and Black Feminism
Ma Rainey
and the Classic Blues Singers
Ma Rainey A Study of Ma Rainey by Sandra R Lieb
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom A Play
Ma Rainey Blues Legacies and Black Feminism
Ma Rainey and the Classic Blues Singers
A Study of
Ma Rainey
by Sandra R. Lieb
A Play
by August Wilson
Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday
by Angela Y. Davis
by Derrick Stewart-Baxter



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

Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey
Volumes 1–4
Ma Rainey
Ma Rainey black bottom cd
Ma Rainey complete recorded works 1923-1927
Ma Rainey the complete 1928 sessions
Milestone
1 CD / 24 tracks
1991
also mp3s
Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order
1923-1927
Document
Volume 1 / 22 tracks
Volume 2 / 23 tracks
Volume 3 / 20 tracks
Volume 4 / 22 tracks
also mp3s
The Complete 1928 Sessions in Chronological Order
Document
1 CD / 23 tracks
1994
also mp3s


Ma Rainey's
Black Bottom
Ma Rainey
Don't Fish in My Sea
The Best of
Gertrude "Ma" Rainey
Mother of the Blues
Ma Rainey 's Black Bottom cd
Ma Rainey Don't Fish in My Sea cd
The Best of Gertrude "Ma" Rainey cd
Yazoo
1 CD / 14 tracks
1991
also mp3s
Original Recording Remastered
Snapper UK
1 CD / 20 tracks
2004
Blues Forever
1 CD / 18 tracks
2004



.YouTube Videos .
Click here to enjoy Ma Rainey images and songs
posted on YouTube



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100 Years of Popular Music in America
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