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Blues Divas

The term 'Diva' was applied to the generation of female singers who did so much to popularise the Blues in the 20s. Some were cabaret singers who took up the fashion for Blues material, but there is no question that most had a feeling for the Blues that came from deep in the Soul.

BESSIE SMITH - THE ESSENTIAL BESSIE SMITH

Bessie Smith was a Force of Nature: a 'wild child' who lived her life on her own terms and a pre-cursor of Rock Star excess. However she got away with it because she was such an electrifying performer, and her passionate personality comes over on record. This compilation includes her earliest sessions, through her 'superstardom' and into her swan-songs, with contributions from Louis Armstrong, Lonnie Johnson and Benny Goodman.

 MA RAINEY - MA RAINEY

These tracks may sound a little thin, as some were made with mechanical microphones, but if you get past that, they are a remarkable document in Blues history. This 24 track collection has many of Ma Rainey's big hits, like 'Jealous Hearted Blues' and 'Boll Weevil Blues' and includes her version of 'See See Rider'

IDA COX - UNCROWNED QUEEN OF THE BLUES

This compilation has 20 of Ida Cox's earliest and best recordings, and the sound has been cleaned up so you would not believe it was recorded in 1923-24.

LUCILLE HEGAMIN - COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS VOL.2

This 25 track collection has most of Lucille Hegamin's Greatest Hits. CDs are rare,  but the MP3 versions are a very rewarding listen.

MONETTE MOORE - COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS

Document have arranged 24 Monette Moore tracks from Paramount's vaults in chronological order. Quality is better than you might expect from pre-electric recordings.

MAMIE SMITH - COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS VOL. 1

From 'Crazy Blues' to the amusing 'I Want a Jazzy Kiss', this record has 18 tracks of Mamie Smith's Blues plus six instrumental cuts by The Jazz Hounds.

SARA MARTIN - FAMOUS MOANIN' MAMA 1922-1927

From the early 'Ain't Nobody's Bizness' to the sassy 'Take Your Black Bottom Outside', this 22 track compilation shows off Sara Martin's voice to full advantage, and is a remarkable document of the 'Blues Diva' period.

SALLIE MARTIN - THROW OUT THE LIFELINE

With amazing vocal arrangements, accompanied only by piano or organ, this is some great Gospel Music. Sallie Martin and her daughter Cora share the lead, with Brother Joe May taking half a dozen tarcks.

EDITH WILSON - HE MAY BE YOUR MAN, BUT HE COMES TO SEE ME SOMETIMES.

Using a rhythm section plus pianist Little Brother Montgomery and guitar/banjo player Ikey Robinson for the Blues stuff, Edith Wilson has a horn section for her more 'pop' songs. Classic material on modern recordings.

VICTORIA SPIVEY - COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS VOL.1 1926-27

Great example of a 'Blues Diva', Victoria Spivey, performing ground-breaking material with fantastic support from sidemen like Lonnie Johnson and Porter Grainger.

ALBERTA HUNTER - COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS VOL.1 1921-1923.

Backed by sidemen like Fletcher Henderson and Don Redman, Alberta Hunter sings 22 of the songs that brought the Blues to the world.

EVA TAYLOR - COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS 2 (1923-27)

These 25 tracks include some comedy material, from the time when Divas like Eva Taylor sang jazz ballads and old-style Blues.

CLARA SMITH - COMPLETED RECORDED WORKS VOL. 4 1926-27

There are 20 remastered tracks here, many of the best featuring Clara Smith backed only by Fletcher Henderson's fine piano work.

TRIXIE SMITH

Trixie Smith deserves to be better known for her great voice, and her later work with Bechet and Red Allen is superb.