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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 101-125 of 191 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W141769 10-in. 3/5/1926 What's the matter now? Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia W141770 10-in. 3/5/1926 I want ev'ry bit of it Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia W141819 10-in. 3/18/1926 Jazzbo Brown from Memphis Town Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia W141820 10-in. 3/18/1926 The gin house blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet and piano vocalist  
Columbia W142146 10-in. 5/4/1926 Money blues Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith ; Joe Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with cornet and piano vocalist  
Columbia W142147 10-in. 5/4/1926 Baby doll Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith ; Joe Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with cornet and piano composer, vocalist  
Columbia W142148 10-in. 5/4/1926 Hard driving papa Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith ; Joe Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with cornet and piano vocalist  
Columbia W142149 10-in. 5/4/1926 Lost your head blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with cornet and piano composer, lyricist, vocalist  
Columbia W142874 10-in. 10/25/1926 Hard time blues Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano composer, lyricist, vocalist  
Columbia W142875 10-in. 10/25/1926 Honey man blues Fletcher Henderson ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia W142876 10-in. 10/26/1926 One and two blues Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet, cornet, and piano leader, vocalist  
Columbia W142877 10-in. 10/26/1926 It's just that feeling for home Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet, cornet, and piano leader, vocalist  
Columbia W142878 10-in. 10/26/1926 Young woman's blues Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with clarinet, cornet, and piano leader, composer, lyricist, vocalist  
Columbia W143490 10-in. 2/17/1927 Preachin' the blues James P. Johnson ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano lyricist, composer, vocalist  
Columbia W143491 10-in. 2/17/1927 Back water blues James P. Johnson ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano lyricist, composer, vocalist  
Columbia W143567 10-in. 3/2/1927 After you've gone Bessie Smith and her Band Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental quintet vocalist  
Columbia W143568 10-in. 3/2/1927 Alexander's ragtime band Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental quintet leader, vocalist  
Columbia W143569 10-in. 3/2/1927 Muddy water Bessie Smith and her Band Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental sextet vocalist  
Columbia W143570 10-in. 3/2/1927 There'll be a hot time in the old town to-night Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental quintet leader, vocalist  
Columbia W143575 10-in. 3/3/1927 Trombone Cholly Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental trio leader, vocalist  
Columbia W143576 10-in. 3/3/1927 Send me to the 'lectric chair Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental trio leader, vocalist  
Columbia W143583 10-in. 3/3/1927 Them's graveyard words Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental trio leader, vocalist  
Columbia W143584 10-in. 3/3/1927 Hot springs blues Blue Boys [Bessie Smith ensemble] ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental trio leader, vocalist, composer  
Columbia W143735 10-in. 4/1/1927 Sweet mistreater Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia W143736 10-in. 4/1/1927 Lock and key James P. Johnson ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
(Results 101-125 of 191 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Smith, Bessie," accessed April 23, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104231.

Smith, Bessie. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 23, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104231.

"Smith, Bessie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 23 April 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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