Sun 11 Dec 2016
|Victoria Spivey||Blood Hound Blues||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 2|
|Victoria Spivey||Black Snake Swing||Men Are Like Street Cars|
|Victoria Spivey||I Got Men All Over This Town||Woman Blues|
|Victoria Spivey||Black Snake Blues||The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966|
|Sippie Wallace||I'm A Mighty Tight Woman||When The Sun Goes Down|
|Sippie Wallace||Parlor Social De Luxe||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 2|
|Sippie Wallace||Bedroom Blues||Sippie Wallace Vol. 2 1925-1945|
|Sippie Wallace||Up The Country Blues||Woman Be Wise|
|Sippie Wallace||Woman Be wise||Woman Be Wise|
|Lucille Hegamin||Wanna Go South Again Blues||Lucille Hegamin, Vol.2 1922-1923|
|Lucille Hegamin||Number 12||Buddy Tate Invites You To Dig A Basket of Blues|
|Bertha “Chippie” Hill||Trouble In Mind||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 2|
|Bertha “Chippie” Hill||Do Dirty Blues||I Can't Be Satisfied Vol. 2|
|Bertha “Chippie” Hill||Charleston Blues||Montana Taylor & 'Freddy' Shayne 1929-1946|
|Bertha “Chippie” Hill||How Long Blues||Jazzin' The Blues 1943-1952|
|Lizzie Miles||I Hate A Man Like You||When The Sun Goes Down|
|Lizzie Miles||Yellow Dog Gal Blues||Lizzie Miles Vol. 3 1928-1929|
|Lizzie Miles||Good Man Is Hard To Find||Jazzin' The Blues 1943-1952|
|Lizzie Miles||Pallet On The Floor||Kidney Stew Is Fine|
|Hannah Sylvester||Michigan Water Blues||Fletcher Henderson & The Blues Singers 1923-1924|
|Hannah Sylvester||Big Black Limousine||Buddy Tate Invites You To Dig A Basket of Blues|
|Ida Cox||Death Letter Blues||The Essential|
|Ida Cox||Mojo Hand Blues||Blues Images Vol. 2|
|Ida Cox||Wild Women Don't Have The Blues||Blues For Rampart Street|
|Ida Cox||Hard, Oh Lord||Blues For Rampart Street|
|Edith Wilson||Evil Blues||Johnny Dunn (w Edith Wilson) Vol. 2 1922-1928|
|Edith Wilson||He Used To Be Your Man But He's My Man Now||Johnny Dunn (w Edith Wilson) Vol. 2 1922-1928|
|Edith Wilson||Hesitating Blues||He May Be Your Man But He Comes To See Me Sometimes|
|Alberta Hunter||Nobody Knows The Way I Feel 'Dis Mornin'||Alberta Hunter Vol. 3 1924-1927)|
|Alberta Hunter||Texas Moaner Blues||Louis Armstrong and the Blues Singers: 1924-1930|
|Alberta Hunter||Yelping Blues||Alberta Hunter Vol. 4 1927-1946|
|Alberta Hunter||I Got Myself A Workin' Man||Songs We Taught Your Mother|
|Alberta Hunter||My Castle's Rockin'||Live At The Cookery|
|Victoria Spivey and Sippie Wallace, 1965|
As researcher Don Kent wrote: "In the late 1890's, an amateur folklorist in Frankfort, Kentucky, heard a black woman in the county workhouse do a melancholy song called a 'jailhouse moan'. In 1902, traveling with a tent show, the young Ma Rainey heard a woman in Missouri do a 'strange and poignant' song (which Ma immediately incorporated in her act) that she later identified as a 'blues'. Nearly a decade passed before this style gained any real prominence, but Mamie Smith's first recording in 1920 showed record companies that black people were anxious and willing to buy music by their peers." Soon dozens and dozens of woman blues singers were cutting records. The "Classic Female Blues" era as it's generally called, spanned from 1920 to 1929 with its peak from 1923 to 1925. Several of these ladies launched comebacks, some as early as the 1940's, others in the 1950's and 1960's. None of the woman garnered the same sort of intense interest and fame as the male rediscoveries of the period like Son House, Skip James, Bukka White and Mississippi John Hurt. The irony was the many of these women not only recorded well before their male counterparts, but achieved far greater fame during their commercial recording years. It was also ironic that those who treated these women as important artists were those whose primary interest was early jazz but who had little or no interest in their male contemporaries. Articles about them appeared in more jazz oriented or specialist periodicals such as Jazz Report, Jazz Journal, Record Changer and Record Research while they were largely ignored in the blues magazines. Today we spotlight vintage and comeback recordings by Victoria Spivey, Sippie Wallace, Alberta Hunter, Bertha “Chippie” Hill, Lizzie Miles, Lucille Hegamin, Hanna Sylvester and Edith Wilson.
Victoria Spivey learned to play piano and sing when she was quite small, and by age twelve she was performing at the Lincoln Theatre, until the manager discovered she couldn’t read music. She continued to play at house parties and clubs, learning from local musicians such as John Calvin, and occasionally sharing a gig with Blind Lemon Jefferson. By age twenty, she had moved to St. Louis, where she made her first record for OKeh, the legendary "Black Snake Blues." The year 1928 saw Spivey teaming up with Lonnie Johnson to record a number of double-entendre vocal duets that sold quite well, but she continued to write songs and record for OKeh until she took time off to appear in King Vidor’s film Hallelujah in 1929. When she returned to the recording studio in late 1929, she was under contract to Victor. Spivey continued to record throughout the 1930s, for both Decca and Vocalion, and as her recording career ended, she hit the road, traveling with the Olsen and Johnson’s "Hellzapoppin’" troupe, owning a club in East St. Louis, and finally retiring to work in the church. In the 1960's Spivey came out of retirement to appear at clubs such as Gerdes Folk City. Before forming her label she reunited with Lonnie Johnson appearing on his album Idle Hours for Bluesville in 1961, he in turn backed her on her album Woman Blues and she also appeared on Songs We Taught Your Mother alongside Alberta Hunter and Lucille Hegamin. There was also a session for Folkways in 1962. In 1961 she and her partner and jazz historian Len Kunstadt formed the Spivey label and beginning in 1962 Spivey wrote a semi-regular column in Record Research called Blues Is My Business. In 1963 she appeared in Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival.
Sippie Wallace made her first record in 1923 and her last in 1984. Thomas grew up in Houston, Texas where she sang and played the piano in her father's church. While still in her early teens she and her younger brother Hersal and older brother George began playing and singing the Blues in tent shows that traveled throughout Texas. In 1915 she moved to New Orleans and lived with her older brother George. During her stay there she met many of the great Jazz musicians like King Oliver and Louis Armstrong who were friends of her brother George. During the early 1920s she toured the TOBA vaudeville circuit where she was billed as "The Texas Nightingale". In 1923 she followed her brothers to Chicago and began performing in the cafes and cabarets around town. In 1923 she recorded her first records for Okeh and went on to record over forty songs for them between 1923 and 1929. Sippie moved to Detroit in 1929 and left show business in the early 1930's. During the next forty years she was a singer and organ player at the Leland Baptist Church in Detroit. She occasionally performed over the years, but did little in the blues until she launched a comeback in 1966 . Wallace cut the album Sippie Wallace Sings the Blues for the Storyville label in 1966. Wallace suffered a stroke in 1970 but managed to keep recording and performing. With the help of Bonnie Raitt she landed a recording deal with Atlantic Records and recorded the album, Sippie, which featured Raitt, was nominated for a Grammy in 1983 and won a W.C. Handy Award for best blues album in 1984.
By the age of 15 Lucille Hegamin was touring the South with the Leonard Harper Minstrel Stock Company. In 1914 she settled in Chicago where, often billed as "The Georgia Peach", she worked with Tony Jackson and Jelly Roll Morton before marrying the pianist-composer Bill Hegamin. In November 1920, Hegamin became the second African-American blues singer to record, after Mamie Smith. Hegamin made a series of recordings for Arto Records and then Paramount in 1922. One of her biggest hits was "Arkansas Blues", recorded for Arto and released on many other labels, including Black Swan. From 1922 through late 1926 she recorded over forty sides for Cameo Records. About 1934 she retired from music. She came out of retirement in 1961 to record four songs, accompanied by a band led by Willie "The Lion" Smith, on the album Songs We Taught Your Mother, for Bluesville Records. In 1962 she appeared on an album for Spivey Records. She performed at a benefit concert for Mamie Smith at the Celebrity Club in New York City in 1964 and passed in 1970.
|Lizzie Miles 1950's|
Bertha Hill's family moved to New York in 1915 and he began her career as a dancer in Harlem and by 1919 was working with Ethel Waters. At age 14, during a stint at Leroy's, a noted New York nightclub, Hill was nicknamed "Chippie" because of her youth. She also performed with Ma Rainey as part of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. About 1925 she settled in Chicago, where she worked at various venues with King Oliver's Jazz Band. She first recorded in November 1925 for Okeh Records, backed by Louis Armstrong and the pianist Richard M. Jones, and recorded with the same musicians again in 1926. Hill recorded 23 titles between 1925 and 1929. In the 1930s she retired from singing to raise her seven children. She staged a comeback in 1946 with Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders, and recorded for Rudi Blesh's Circle label. She began appearing on radio and in clubs and concerts in New York, including in 1948 the Carnegie Hall concert with Kid Ory, and she sang at the Paris Jazz Festival, and worked with Art Hodes in Chicago. She was back again in 1950, when she was run over by a car and killed in New York at the age of 45.
Lizzie Miles was born in thea neighborhood of New Orleans in 1895. She worked with Joe Oliver, Kid Ory, Bunk Johnson, and A.J. Piron from 1909-1911. She then toured the South, performing in theaters, circuses, and with minstrel shows. She moved to New York and made her first recordings in 1922. Miles toured Europe in 1924 and 1925 and then returned to New York and worked in clubs from 1926 to 1931. She recorde around sixty sides between 1922 and 1930. Miles suffered a serious illness and retired from the music industry in the 1930s. Despite her illness, Miles appeared in two films in the early 1930s. She began working regularly again in 1935, performing with Paul Barbarin at the Strollers Club in New York.She sang with Fats Waller in 1938, made some recordings in 1939 and then worked in Chicago until she left music in 1942. In 1950, Miles lived in California where she sang with George Lewis in 1953 and 1954, performed and in Las Vegas from 1955 to 1957 and sang with Joe Darensbourg in Chicago in 1958 and 1959. She returned to New Orleans, where she appeared with Freddie Kohlman and Paul Barbarin. She recorded with several Dixieland and traditional jazz bands, appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958, and made regular radio broadcasts before retiring in 1959.
Hannah Sylvester was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and sang and danced from the age of three. In 1923 she recorded eleven sides with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra. Thereafter she toured the theater circuit in vaudeville shows throughout the 1920s. In the early 1930s she appeared in numerous revues in New York City. In 1931 she performed with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra at the Howard Theater, in Washington, D.C., for broadcast on WSJV radio. She toured with the Snooky Russell Orchestra in 1940. By the early 1950s Sylvester worked primarily outside music; she tended bar at the Celebrity Club in New York City and occasionally sang there with the Buddy Tate Band.In 1962. She recorded for Victoria Spivey's Spivey Records.
Ida Cox ran away from home in 1910 when she was a teenager and performed in minstriel and tent shows as a comedienne and singer.Ida worked her why into vaudeville and eventually became a headliner. She toured the country throughout the Teens and 1920s sometimes singing with Jazz greats like Jelly Roll Morton and with King Oliver at the Plantation Cafe in Chicago. In 1923 she began her recording contract with the Paramount label, who billed her as the Uncrowned Queen of the Blues. She cut over ninety sides between 1923 and 1927. Unlike many of the Classic Blues singers of the 1920s Cox continued to perform during the 1930's. She spent most of the rest of the decade on the road until 1939 when she performed regularly at the Cafe Society night club in New York City. She also appeared in John Hammond's Spirituals to Swing concert at Carnegie Hall in 1939. which briefly revitaled her recording career. She released records under the name of Ida Cox and her Allstar Band and Ida Cox and her Allstar Orchestra during this time period. In the mid 1940's she had a stroke and passed out during a performance in New York and left show business. Some time in the 1950s she began performing again sporadically. In 1961, Cox recorded for the last time on the Riverside label.
|Bertha "Chippie" Hill 1940's|
Edith Wilson's first professional experience came in 1919 in Louisville's Park Theater. The singer Lena Wilson and her brother, Danny, performed in Louisville; Edith married Danny and joined their act. Together the trio performed on the East Coast in 1920–1921, and when they were in New York City Wilson was signed by Columbia, which recorded her in 1921 with Johnny Dunn's Jazz Hounds. She recorded 17 songs with Dunn in 1921 and 1922. In 1924 she worked with Fletcher Henderson in New York. She recorded with Columbia through 1925, after that sherecorded one record for Brunswick in 1929 and a handful of sides for Victor in 1930. Wilson remained active as a singer and actress, not retiring until 1963. She mase a comeback in 1973 to play with Eubie Blake, Little Brother Montgomery, and Terry Waldo. In 1976 she recorded the album He May Be Your Man (But He Comes To See Me Sometimes) for Delmark with Little Brother Montgomery. Her last live show was at the 1980 Newport Jazz Festival.
Alberta Hunter got her professional start in 1911 at a Southside club called Dago Frank's, a tough bordello frequented by pimps and criminals where she stayed unil 1913. In 1915 Hunter got a gig at the Panama Cafe, which was a fancy place that catered to Whites. At this point Alberta was becoming a star in Chicago. In 1921 Alberta moved to New York and launched her recording career with the Black Swan label but she switched to Paramount in 1922.S he recorded some seventy sides through 199, cutting additional records in 1935, 1940 and 1946. In 1927 she toured Europe. She was a hit in Paris, and continued to perform in Europe throughout the 1930s as well as the Middle East and Russia. During World War II, Alberta was part of the USO and entertained the troops throughout Asia, the South Pacific Islands and Europe. After the war she returned to America to care for her ailing mother, but continued singing until she quit music in 1956 after her mother died. At the age of 59 she enrolled in a practical nursing course and for the next twenty years she worked in a New York City hospital. In the early 1960s she recorded a few albums and then surprisingly took to the stage again in 1977 at age 82 and continued to perform up until the time of her death in 1984.
-Warner, J.E. “Blues for Bertha.” Record Changer 9 (Jun 1950): 5. -Spivey, Victoria. “Blues are My Business: Sippie Wallace Sings Better Than Ever.” Record Research no. 69 (Jul 1965): 1, 7. -Kunstadt, Leonard. “The Comeback of Sippie Wallace.” Record Research no. 88 (Jan 1968): 1, 3. -Abbott, Lynn; Seroff, Doug. “Lizzie Miles: Her Forgotten Career in Circus Side-Show Minstrelsy, 1914–1918.” 78 Quarterly no. 7 (1992): 57–70. -Arx, Rolf von. “A Glimpse at the Golden Years of Ida Cox.” 78 Quarterly no. 11 (2001): 109–122.
-Warner, J.E. “Blues for Bertha.” Record Changer 9 (Jun 1950): 5.
-Spivey, Victoria. “Blues are My Business: Sippie Wallace Sings Better Than Ever.” Record Research no. 69 (Jul 1965): 1, 7.
-Kunstadt, Leonard. “The Comeback of Sippie Wallace.” Record Research no. 88 (Jan 1968): 1, 3.
-Abbott, Lynn; Seroff, Doug. “Lizzie Miles: Her Forgotten Career in Circus Side-Show Minstrelsy, 1914–1918.” 78 Quarterly no. 7 (1992): 57–70.
-Arx, Rolf von. “A Glimpse at the Golden Years of Ida Cox.” 78 Quarterly no. 11 (2001): 109–122.