Ma Rainey – Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1 1923 – 1924
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When thirty seven year old Gertrude “Ma” Rainey first walked into a Chicago recording studio one winter day late in 1923, she brought with her over two decades of training and experience as a stage performer, spanning from the traditions of the nineteenth century black minstrel shows to the latest in vaudeville. She first heard and publicly performed blues songs in 1902 when she was sixteen.
In the studio with her was the house pianist for both Paramount and the Monogram theatre, Lovie Austin. Lovie was well respected by many of the artists whom she accompanied. A competent musician, she often helped musicians like “Ma” and Alberta Hunter by writing out their song scores for copyright. With Her Blues Serenaders Lovie introduced the first bars of Bad Luck Blues a slow, mournful, solid blues which marked the beginning of five years of recordings by the earliest known professional blues artist to record. In this context it was fitting that Williams released two other titles from the session, Moonshine Blues and Southern Blues, as her first record and gave her the title of “Mother Of The Blues”.