Victoria Spivey – Complete Recorded Works 1926 – 1937 Vol 3 (1929-1936)
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For her second session on the Victor label, Victoria Spivey was again accompanied by Luis Russell’s orchestra, but this time the records were credited to her alone, rather than as featured vocalist with the band. All concerned at this date were in excellent form, and Spivey brought along a strong set of songs. Blood Hound Blues tells a melodramatic story of imprisonment and escape and Dirty T. B. Blues also speaks of confinement. Spivey was probably trying to write another hit song about the “white plague” but the song reflects the realties of life in the overcrowded ghettos of the North and seems far from cold calculation as she projects herself into the situation of a patient deserted by friends and relatives and feeling that she has been left to die, forgotten.
When changing labels from OKeh to Victor, Spivey had negotiated a recording contract for her sister Addie, nicknamed “Sweet Peas” and members of the Russell band accompanied Addie’s November 1929 session (Document Jazz Perspectives JPCD-1506-2). When Victoria, herself, returned to the studio early in 1930, only Luis Russell and his guitarist were with her, perhaps because the company was already trying to economise under the weight of the Depression. Her next and last Victor sessions, found Spivey teamed with the great guitarist Teddy Bunn and a pseudonymous Porter Grainger.
Feeling the need to look for new opportunities, Spivey moved to Chicago in 1930 and took up with Vocalion. It seems very likely that she was the “Magnolia Harris” who duetted with “Howling Smith”.