Monday, August 29, 2005

mp3s by Bessie Smith


Mrs. Bessie Smith was born in Chattanooga, Tenn. in 1894 she learned her craft working with the venerable Gertrude (Ma) Rainey. She was one of the earliest blues singers. She honed her considerable singing abilities working in traveling shows. She started her recording career in New York City, where she recorded more than 160 songs between 1323 and 1933. She worked with and recorded with jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Coleman Hawkins. She was even appeared in the 1929 movie St. Louis Blues.

She was called the “Empress of the Blues” because of her wonderful and powerful singing voice.

Like so many blues singers, the blues finally caught up with her. She died in a car accident while on tour in Mississippi in 1937.

"Down Hearted Blues" (3:24, 597kB) - Columbia 80863-5, New York City, 16 February 1923

"The St. Louis Blues" (3:10, 550kB) - Columbia 14064-D, New York City, 14 January 1925

"Cold in Hand Blues" (3:11, 558kB) - Columbia 14064-D, New York City, 14 January 1925

"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (2:57, 511kB) - Columbia 14451-D, New York City, 15 May 1929

"I'm Down in the Dumps" (3:10, 548kB) - Okeh 8495, New York City, 24 November, 1933


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