Related books in the Library
Blues music spawned legendary performers whose influence has been felt in many musical forms here and around the world. Until now the important role of the great women blues singers has largely gone unexplored. This book tells of the cultural and social impact of the blues during the 1920s when the genre was dominated by women, both on stage and on record. Harrison (Afro-American Studies Department, University of Maryland) writes with authority, focusing particularly on Sippie Wallace, Edith Wilson, Victoria Spivey, and Alberta Hunter as she analyzes the music and the collective black experience out of which it grew. A significant book, particularly for collections of music history, black studies, and women's studies. Daniel J. Lombardo, Jones Lib., Amherst, Mass. (From Library Journal, 1988)
The female blues singers of the 1920s, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, and Bessie Smith, not only invented a musical genre, but they also became models of how African American women could become economically independent in a culture that had not previously allowed it. Both Smith and Rainey composed, arranged, and managed their own road bands. Angela Y. Davis's study emphasizes the impact that these singers, and later Billie Holiday, had on the poor and working-class communities from which they came. (Amazon)
This book is filled with information about Ma Rainey and other female blues singers. It is lavishly illustrated with black and white photos and illustrations. It is a critical discussion of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and the "classic" women singers of the 'twenties who first put blues on record and established its relationship to jazz. (From publisher description.)
This book—a revised and expanded edition of the definitive biography of Bessie Smith, known as the “Empress of the Blues”—debunks many of the myths that circulated after her untimely death in 1937. For this new edition, Chris Albertson provides more details of Bessie’s early years, new interview material, and a chapter devoted to events and responses that followed the original publication. (From publisher description.)
Also see interview with Chris Albertson on revisions to this new edition.
Biography of Ma Rainey.
See chapter 10, p.369"Race Records."
The third edition of Southern's (music and Afro-American studies, emerita, Harvard) scholarly work chronicles the development of African American music, from the arrival of the first Africans at the English colonies in 1619 to the present. The evolution of various genres, instrumentation, minstrelsy, dance, religious aspects, recording companies, and musical theater are all dealt with meticulously. (Library Journal)
Related DVDs in the Library
-Saint Louis Blues (1929) (Bessie Smith ; Hall Johnson Choir) / W.C. Handy ; Dudley Murphy, writer and director ; RKO-Radio Pictures (15:08)
-Paradise in Harlem (1940), excerpt : Tell me mama (Mamie Smith ; Lucky Millinder and his orchestra) (2:48)
-and other general blues clips.
Through historic performances and recordings, captures the spirit of such pioneering blues women as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters, Alberta Hunter, Ida Cox, and others.