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Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an African-American blues singer widely renowned during the Jazz Age. Nicknamed the "Empress of the Blues", she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1930s. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, she is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on fellow blues singers, as well as jazz vocalists.

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Smith was young when her parents died, and she and her six siblings survived by performing on street corners. She began touring and performed in a group that included Ma Rainey, and then went out on her own. Her successful recording career with Columbia Records began in 1923, but her performing career was cut short by a car crash that killed her at the age of 43.

Birth and Death Data: Born April 15, 1894 (Chattanooga), Died September 26, 1937 (Clarksdale)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1923 - 1933

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, composer, lyricist, leader, songwriter

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 26-50 of 191 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 81244 10-in. 9/27/1923 Whoa, Tillie, take your time Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81245 10-in. 9/27/1923 My sweetie went away Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81261 10-in. 10/4/1923 Far away blues Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith ; Clara Smith Female vocal duet ("blues singers"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia 81262 10-in. 10/4/1923 I'm going back to my used-to-be Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith ; Clara Smith Female vocal duet ("blues singers"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia 81283 10-in. 10/16/1923 Any woman's blues Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo, with piano vocalist  
Columbia 81391 10-in. 12/4/1923 Chicago bound blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81392 10-in. 12/4/1923 Mistreatin' daddy Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81464 10-in. 1/8/1924 Frosty mornin' blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo, with guitar and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81465 10-in. 1/9/1924 Blue Bessie Bessie Smith Female vocal solo, with guitar and piano vocalist, composer  
Columbia 81466 10-in. 1/9/1924 Haunted house blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81469 10-in. 1/9/1924 Eavesdropper's blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81470 10-in. 1/10/1924 Easy come easy go blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo, with guitar and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81471 10-in. 1/10/1924 Rampart Street blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band leader, vocalist  
Columbia 81472 10-in. 1/10/1924 Lawdy, lawdy blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band leader, vocalist  
Columbia 81664 10-in. 4/4/1924 Sorrowful blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with violin and piano vocalist, songwriter  
Columbia 81665 10-in. 4/4/1924 Sorrowful blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with violin and guitar vocalist, composer  
Columbia 81668 10-in. 4/4/1924 Pinchbacks—take 'em away Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist, songwriter  
Columbia 81669 10-in. 4/4/1924 Rocking chair blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with violin and piano vocalist, songwriter  
Columbia 81670 10-in. 4/5/1924 Ticket agent, ease your window down Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with violin and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81671 10-in. 4/7/1924 Boweavil blues Irving Johns ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia 81672 10-in. 4/8/1924 Hateful blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with violin and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81675 10-in. 4/8/1924 Frankie blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with violin and piano vocalist  
Columbia 81676 10-in. 4/9/1924 Moonshine blues Irving Johns ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia 81720 10-in. 4/23/1924 Banjo blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with banjo vocalist  
Columbia 81721 10-in. 4/23/1924 Four-flushing papa Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with banjo and piano vocalist  
(Results 26-50 of 191 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Smith, Bessie," accessed April 13, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104231.

Smith, Bessie. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104231.

"Smith, Bessie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 13 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104231

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