Bessie Smith, “The Empress Of The Blues”, a uniquely powerful, soulful and uncompromising blues singer, was an originator and a star. She became one of the highest-paid Black performers of her time, influencing fellow blues and jazz singers for generations to come and helping transform the record industry.
After treading the vaudeville boards in the 1910’s alongside Ma Rainey, Smith rose to the top and was picked up by a struggling Columbia Records. Her first single Down Hearted Blues sold nearly a million in 8 months, saving Columbia from bankruptcy.
Pressed on 140g black vinyl, this 13-track LP features some of The Empress’ best-loved songs from her tragically short career. From her very earliest sessions in 1923, through collaborations with Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson to later reflections on prohibition. A fitting tribute to one of the true heroes, not only of the blues, but musical history itself.
1 - DOWN HEARTED BLUES - Bessie Smith with Clarence Williams (Lovie Austin, Alberta Hunter) 1923
2 - GULF COAST BLUES - Bessie Smith with Clarence Williams (Clarence Williams) 1923
3 - AGGRAVATIN' PAPA - Bessie Smith & Her Down Home Trio (Addy Britt, J. Russel Robinson, Roy Turk) 1923
4 - BABY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME - Bessie Smith with Clarence Williams (Charles Warfield, Clarence Williams) 1923
5 – T’AIN’T NOBODY'S BIZ-NESS IF I DO - Bessie Smith with Clarence Williams (Everett Robbins, Porter Grainger) 1923
6 - CARELESS LOVE BLUES - Bessie Smith with Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fletcher Henderson (Martha E. Koenig, Spencer Williams, W.C Handy) 1925
1. I AIN'T GONNA PLAY NO SECOND FIDDLE - Bessie Smith with Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green and Fletcher Henderson (Perry Bradford) 1925
2. ST LOUIS BLUES - Bessie Smith with Clarence Williams (W.C. Handy) 1925
3. LOST YOUR HEAD BLUES - Bessie Smith with Louis Armstrong and Fred Longshaw (Bessie Smith) 1926
4. AFTER YOU'VE GONE - Bessie Smith with Joe Smith and Fletcher Henderson (Henry Creamer, Turner Layton) 1927
5. EMPTY BED BLUES PT. 1 - Bessie Smith with Fletcher Henderson (J. C. Johnson) 1928
6. NOBODY KNOWS YOU WHEN YOU'RE DOWN AND OUT - Bessie Smith with Charlie Green and Porter Grainger (Jimmie Cox) 1929
7. I NEED A LITTLE SUGAR IN MY BOWL - Bessie Smith with Ed Allen, Gavin Bushell, Greely Watson, Clarence Williams and Cyrus St. Clair (Clarence Williams, Dally Small, Tim Brymn) 1931