Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category


Author: Valerie Wilmer
Source: Downbeat, 37 (Aug. 6, 1970), 15, 32.


ALTHOUGH THE UNIVERSAL APPEAL of jazz has never been in dispute, the vocal blues presents an obvious problem of communication. People have the blues the world over -from Watts to Johannesburg they’ve felt the jackboots of oppression and the heartache of lost love-but can they really share in the down-and-out feeling of rejection when it is recounted in a language both musically and literally alien? That a middle-aged Memphis-born blues man bas worked consistently in Europe since 1963 is incongruous enough when you consider the almost insurmountable language barriers, but the fact that he can also move the people to tears is little short of remarkable. Consider the facts:

Memphis Slim s Parisian Love Affair.pdf


Author: Ross Russell

Source: Down Beat, August 6, 1970, Vol. 37, No. 15


“Huddie Ledbetter, king of 12-string guitar, was one of the archetypical blues men who sang and played through the southwest during the period between the two wars. A contemporary of Blind Lemon  Jefferson and of the generation before T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leadbelly was the most versatile of all singers in the Afro-American tradition and was deep-rooted in its folkways. Besides the country blues, and the urban blues, his bag included many types of folksongs – the field holler, country dances and reels, cowboy songs, talking ‘blues, and ballads. He died in 1949 in New York City. He was one of the big figures.

Following his discovery in 1933 at a prison farm in Angola, La., by John and Alan Lomax, who were field recording men for the Library of Congress, Leadbelly was pardoned, publicized, and presented to awed listeners on a concert tour.”



Author: Pete Welding

Source: Downbeat. – Vol. 43 (1976): no 9, p. 19-20


“Howlin’ Wolf, the powerful Mississippi born singer who was one of the major shapers of the electrically amplified modern blues style that has been so dominant an influence on all popular music since his time, died January 10, 1976. of complications arising from a kidney disease for which he was being treated. At the time of his death he was 65 and had been active as a blues performer for more than four decades, first as an itinerant singer-guitarist at simple back country entertainments in his native Mississippi and Arkansas, and fromthe late 1940s as a recording artist, radio performer, and leader of one of the first electric blues ensembles to achieve national prominence.”


Queen Bessie

Posted: January 11, 2013 in Bessie Smith, David Sessions, Female Blues


Author: David Sessions

Source: Jazz News, April 5, 1961, p. 8


“BESSIE SMITH – Voice N.G.” Thus reads the entry against the date 21st April 1924 in Thomas Edison’s Talent Audition File. The grandfather of the gramophone obviously didn’t dig the blues for the same date shows “awful voice”, “No, voice bad”, “No – Singer N.G.” against the names of Lizzie Miles, Sara Martin and Viola McCoy respectively while Rosa Henderson earned the judgement “This is the limit. Can’t stand this voice. I have heard needle machine blues with much better voices”!.



Author: Malcolm Nixon

Source: Jazz News, March 15, 1961, p. 8


“GEORGE WEBB of  Jazzshows tells the story of travelling in the West of England with the Acker Bilk Band, all done up with fancy waistcoats, and wearing straw boaters; being near lunch time they got the bus to pull up at a pleasant looking country inn, and everyone poured out straight for the bar for food and a drink.”



Author: William “Big Bill” Broonzy

Source: The Jazz Record, March 1946, n° 2


“The first time I tried to play anything was in 1914. It was a home-made fiddle and I couldn’t play it right away. That was in Arkansaw near where the Mississippi and Arkansaw rivers come together. I had first heard a home-made fiddle played by a blues singer we knew as See See Rider. Don’t know his name- everybody called him just See See Rider, because he used to sing a blues by that name. Later on Ma Rainey made a record of that tune, but I first heard it down around my home. I never saw anyone else play a home-made fiddle except See See Rider. He was born and raised in Redale, Arkansaw, and he played for everybody around there. Hearing him made me want to do something too.”



Author: J.E. Warner

Source: The Record Changer, June 1950


“The last of the great blues singers is gone. It can be said as simply as that, without going into sentimental
eulogies-and Bertha ” Chippie” Hill, who sang deep and hard, and who died suddenly in an automobile accident on the night of May 7, wouldn’t have wanted sentimentality.
Chippie had two singing careers. The first began when she was only fourteen (by her own estimate), and opened at Leroy’s, a once-famous Harlem show spot. It lasted for perhaps a dozen years, with Chippie hitting the top in Chicago in 1926, when she made ten or twelve sides-mostly with Louis Armstrong and pianist Richard Jones. That career was voluntarily cut short at the end of the ‘ twenties, when she retired to concern herself with the job of raising seven