Josephine Miles

Josie Miles (c. 1900 – c. 1953–65) was an American vaudeville and blues singer. She was one of the classic female blues singers popular in the 1920s.

Miles was born in Summerville, South Carolina. By the early 1920s she was working in New York City, where she appeared in Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle's musical comedy Shuffle Along. In 1922, Miles made her first recordings for the Black Swan Company. She later recorded for the Gennett, Ajax, Edison, and Banner Records labels. In 1923 she toured the African-American theatre circuit with the Black Swan Troubadours, and performed in New York City in James P. Johnson's revue Runnin' Wild at the Colonial Theatre. In that same year she also performed on WDT radio in New York City.

The blues writer Steve Tracy described Miles as having "a light but forceful delivery that was not low-down but was nevertheless convincing." Her last recordings date from 1925. After the early 1930s, she devoted herself to church activities in Kansas City, Missouri, where she had settled. According to some accounts, Miles died in an automobile accident in the 1950s or 1960s.

In 1928, a preacher billed sometimes as Missionary Josephine Miles and sometimes as Evangelist Mary Flowers recorded six sides of fiery sermons for the Gennett label. It is not known if these recordings are attributable to Josie Miles. The blues historians Paul Oliver and Chris Smith believe that the aural evidence does not support this identification.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1900 (Summerville), Died 20th century

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1924 - 1928

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, speaker

Notes: Often listed as Josie Miles.

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

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Edison 9707 10-in. 9/15/1924 Sweet man Joe Josephine Miles Female vocal solo, with cornet and piano vocalist  
Edison 9761 10-in. 10/2/1924 Temper'mental papa Kansas City Five ; Josephine Miles Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist  
Edison 9762 10-in. 10/2/1924 Sweet man Joe Kansas City Five ; Josephine Miles Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist  
Edison 9862 10-in. 11/21/1924 Mad mama's blues Kansas City Five ; Josephine Miles Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance ensemble vocalist  
Gennett 13839 10-in. 5/15/1928 Vacation in heavan Josephine Miles Female vocal solo, with piano vocalist  
Gennett 13840 10-in. 5/16/1928 God's warning to the church Elizabeth Cooper ; Josephine Miles Female vocal duet and talk, with piano vocalist, speaker  
Gennett 13841 10-in. 5/16/1928 Holiness Elizabeth Cooper ; Josephine Miles Female vocal duet and talk, with piano vocalist, speaker  
Gennett 13842 10-in. 5/16/1928 Holiness Elizabeth Cooper ; Josephine Miles Female vocal duet and talk, with piano vocalist, speaker  
Gennett 13844 10-in. 5/16/1928 You have lost Jesus Elizabeth Cooper ; Josephine Miles Female vocal duet and talk, with piano vocalist, speaker  
Gennett 13845 10-in. 5/16/1928 The ways Elizabeth Cooper ; Josephine Miles Female vocal duet, with piano vocalist  
Gennett 13846 10-in. 5/16/1928 An aweful responsibilty Lottie Beeman and Congregation ; Rev. B. L. Wightman Male vocal solo, with mixed vocal ensemble vocalist  
Gennett 13847 10-in. 5/16/1928 The soul's physician Lottie Beeman and Congregation ; Rev. B. L. Wightman Male vocal solo, with mixed vocal ensemble vocalist  
Gennett 13848 10-in. 5/16/1928 The soul's physician Lottie Beeman and Congregation ; Rev. B. L. Wightman Male vocal solo, with mixed vocal ensemble vocalist  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Miles, Josephine," accessed April 13, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106659.

Miles, Josephine. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106659.

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

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106659

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