Female Blues Singers Vol 8 H1 1923 – 1928
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Volume eight of this A to Z of female blues singers presents five singers from the vaudeville style of the Classic Blues era. It is possible that Sister Harris is none other than Estelle Harris, one of the stars of the Savoy Theatre in Memphis between 1910 and 1913 and one of the first black vaudeville singers to become known as a blues specialist. Clara Herring shows that she was a worthy competitor to Bessie Smith and Alma Henderson’s strong vocals are inspired by the first class accompaniments provided by Lonnie Johnson on guitar and DeLoise Searcy on piano.
The female blues singers who made records in the 1920s and early 1930 are often simplistically characterized as “vaudeville” artists. This series of fourteen volumes, 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 others 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.