Archive for Bessie Smith

It makes my love come down

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2015 by telescoper

A very busy day back in Sussex meant that I had no time for a post until I finished lecturing at 6pm, so there’s just time for a bit of music before I head home. I thought I’d put up another track by Humphrey Lyttelton, from the same concert at the Royal Festival Hall in July 1951 sponsored by the National Federation of Jazz Organizations (NFJO) from which I posted The Dormouse some time ago. This is an excellent performance of a blues called It makes my love come down, which Humph probably transcribed from the classic original recording by the greatest female blues singer of all time, Bessie Smith. Again it shows the Lyttelton band’s front line in fine fettle, especially when they come together for the last couple of choruses.



Backwater Blues

Posted in History, Jazz with tags , , , , on January 5, 2012 by telescoper

Although the risk of flooding has abated somewhat in these parts, the various alerts reminded me that I should post this classic piece of music. It’s not only a definitive example of the art of the blues, sung by the incomparable Bessie Smith with James P. Johnson on piano, but also an important piece of American social history, as it documents the Mississippi River flood of 1927, which brought death and devastation to seven southern states, including Tennessee and Arkansas as well as  Mississippi. It’s mistitled “Black Water” on the clip – it should be “Backwater”, but whatever its name it’s definitely the Blues.


You’ve Got To Give Me Some..

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , on April 2, 2010 by telescoper

Another quick break from writing gives me an excuse to post another favourite tune…

If you thought that raunchy lyrics were bound to be banned from records made 80 years ago, then just get a load of this.
It was recorded in 1928 by the greatest female blues singer of them all, Bessie Smith (“The Empress of the Blues”), together with Clarence Williams on piano and Eddie Lang on guitar. Bessie Smith was a notoriously loud and sometimes violent woman, who had an insatiable appetite for booze and sex (with, it’s said, both men and women). She also had a voice like no-one else on earth before or since.

 This is one of several very naughty records she made in the late twenties, others including “Do your duty” and “Take me for a buggy ride” but this is probably the rudest of the lot. I like the video too. Enjoy!

Now, anyone for round steak?