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Bessie Smith

Alyn Shipton and Irish singer Christine Tobin select the gems from blues legend Bessie Smith's ten year recording career that should form the basis of a collection of her work.

The most influential popular female musician of the 1920s, Bessie Smith's records sold in unprecedented numbers and she was hailed as the Empress of the Blues. She had a profound impact on all jazz and blues musicians during her short lifetime and in the years immediately following her tragic death in 1937. In this programme, Alyn Shipton and
Irish singer (and Smith specialist) Christine Tobin select the gems from Smith's ten year recording career that should form the basis of a collection of her work.

Produced by Simon Poole and Alyn Shipton, a Unique Production for BBC Radio 3.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 11 Apr 2010 00:00

Music Played

  • Bessie Smith

    Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

    Composer: Cox Performers: Bessie Smith, v; Ed Allen, cnt; Garvin Bushell, as; Greely Walton, ts; Clarence Williams, p; Cyrus St Clair, tu; 15 May 1929

    • I've Got What It Takes.
    • Naxos Number 8.120732.
  • Bessie Smith

    Downhearted Blues

    Composer: Hunter / Austin Performers: Bessie Smith, v; Clarence Williams p; 16 Feb 1923.

    • Bessie Smith Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    New Orleans Hop Scop Blues

    Composer: Thomas Performers: Louis Metcalfe, t; Charlie Green, tb; Garvin Bushell, cl/as; Clarence Williams, p. 27 March 1930

    • I've Got What It Takes (Bessie Smith Vol. 5).
    • Naxos Number 8.120732.
  • Bessie Smith

    On Revival Day

    Composer: Razaf Performers: Bessie Smith, v; James P. Johnson, p; The Bessamer Singers Rec: 9 June 1930

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    Bleeding Heart Blues

    Composer: Austin Performers: Bessie Smith, v; Fletcher Henderson p. 14 June 1923

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    Rainy Weather Blues

    Composer: Brooks Performers: Bessie Smith v; Fletcher Henderson, piano; Charlie Green, trombone. 8 Aug 24.

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    Careless Love Blues

    Composer: Handy, Williams, Koenig. Performers: Bessie Smith V; Louis Armstrong, cnt; Charlie Green, tb; Fred Longshaw p; 26 May 25.

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    Cold In Hand Blues

    Composer: Gee, Longshaw

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    Backwater Blues

    Composer: Smith Performers: Bessie Smith v; James P Johnson, p.

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    It Makes My Love Come Down

    Performers: Bessie Smith v; James P Johnson, p.

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    I'm wild about that thing

    Composer: Williams Performers: Bessie Smith v; Eddie Lang, g; Clarence Williams p. 8 May 29

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    Young Woman's Blues

    Composer: Smith Performers: Joe Smith cnt; Buster Bailey cl; Fletcher Henderson p. 26 Oct 26

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.
  • Bessie Smith

    Gimme a Pigfoot

    Composer: Wilson Performers: Frankie Newton,. t; Jack Teagarden, tb; Benny Goodman, cl; Chu Berry, ts; Buck Washington, p; Bobby Johnson g; Billy Taylor, b. 23 Nov 33.

    • Bessie Smith: Chattanooga Gal.
    • Proper Number Properbox 78.

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