Female Blues Singers – Various Artists – Complete Recorded Works – Vol 5 C/D/E (1921-1928)
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The singers in this volume are from the “extremely obscure” end of the scale. Ruth Coleman’s She Walked Right Up And Took My Man Away feature strong down-home vocals. Madlyn Davis, best known for her 1928 recordings with Tampa Red and Georgia Tom weighs in with some excellent tracks with a raucous jazz jam at the end of Winter Blues. Jessie Derrick was remembered by the late Jimmy Rushing as a star in Los Angeles and San Francisco. These recordings made the following year with a hot New Orleans style band certainly justify her reputation, as she sounds like a slightly more refined Bessie Smith. This compilation features some surprising talent and some excellent jazz / blues helped along by such accompanists as Sidney Bechet, Harvey Brooks and Richard M. Jones.
Female blues singers who made records in the 1920s and early 1930 are often simplistically characterized as “vaudeville” artists. This series of fourteen, concentrating on singers who made only a handful of recordings and who mostly remain biographically obscure, reveals the true diversity of the female artists of this era. While the vaudeville theatres and travelling tent shows were probably the main venues for most of them, some sang in cabarets and others in low-down barrelhouses.
Some were vaudeville veterans whose careers stretched back to the teens or even earlier, while others were young new arrivals on the stage. Yet others sound as though they had just emerged from a rough saloon and house party environment. Some created their own excellent song material, while others were merely the vehicles for ambitious song-writers who often also served as their accompanists. Some are obscure and many leave us wishing they had been more extensively recorded. Whatever the case, they fill out the picture of the blues of this era and present plenty of fine musical moments and material of great interest.