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.
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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.
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'
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.
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.
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.