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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 176-191 of 191 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia W150657 10-in. 7/22/1930 Hustlin' Dan Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with cornet and piano vocalist  
Columbia W150658 10-in. 7/22/1930 Black Mountain blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with cornet and piano vocalist  
Columbia W151594 10-in. 6/10/1931 In the house blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental quartet lyricist, composer, vocalist  
Columbia W151595 10-in. 6/10/1931 Long old road Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental quartet composer, lyricist, vocalist  
Columbia W151596 10-in. 6/11/1931 Blue blue Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental quartet composer, lyricist, vocalist  
Columbia W151597 10-in. 6/11/1931 Shipwreck blues Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with instrumental quartet lyricist, composer, vocalist  
Columbia W151883 10-in. 11/20/1931 Need a little sugar in my bowl Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano vocalist  
Columbia W151884 10-in. 11/20/1931 Safety mama Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with piano composer, lyricist, vocalist  
Columbia W152577 10-in. 11/24/1933 Do your duty Buck and his Band ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Columbia W152578 10-in. 11/24/1933 Gimme a pigfoot Buck and his Band ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Columbia W152579 10-in. 11/24/1933 Take me for a buggy ride Buck and his Band ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Columbia W152580 10-in. 11/24/1933 I'm down in the dumps Buck and his Band ; Bessie Smith Female vocal solo ("blues singer"), with jazz/dance band vocalist  
OKeh S-72265 10-in. Jan. 1924 Jail house blues Virginia Liston Female vocal solo, with guitar songwriter  
OKeh 74203 10-in. June 1926 Lone desert blues Harry Gompers Clarinet solo, with banjo and piano composer, lyricist  
OKeh W80831 10-in. 5/3/1927 Back water blues Lonnie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar and piano composer, lyricist  
OKeh W82053 10-in. 12/13/1927 Sweet potato blues Lonnie Johnson Male vocal solo, with guitar and piano composer, lyricist  
(Results 176-191 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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