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Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesFriday MP3 Shuffle: Happy Birthday Besse Smith Edition

(photograph by Carl Van Vechten)

Today is the birthday of Bessie Smith, now and for all time “The Empress of the Blues.”

As the most popular female Blues singer in the 1920s and 1930s, she had a glorious voice and was a fearless force of nature with a temper as big as her pipes (in the segregated South, she once chased a group of Ku Klux Klansmen away from one of her shows at a time when Black folks wisely avoided such confrontations). Bessie Smith’s recordings have influenced untold numbers of Blues and Jazz singers. Rockers and rappers, too - Janis Joplin not only appreciated her music but also helped pay for a tombstone for her as-then-unmarked grave, and Queen Latifah recently portrayed her in a 2015 HBO bio-pic.

Bessie Smith’s impact continues to be felt throughout American music. In her honor, let’s play the MP3 Shuffle. Take your MP3 player, press the "shuffle" button, and share the first 10 songs that play:

1. Corrections House - Bullets and Graves (Last City Zero)

2. Suzanne Vega - The Queen and The Soldier (Suzanne Vega)

3. Woven Bones - Sitting Sick (HoZac Hookup Klub Round One)

4. Golden Gardens - The Ghost of a Total Stranger (Bellflower)

5. Parliament - Up for the Down Stroke (Up for the Down Stroke)

6. Cibo Matto - Lobby (Hotel Valentine)

7. Oingo Boingo - Just Another Day (Dead Man’s Party)

8. Plastic Crimewave Sound – The Steeply Angled (Gradually Darkens)

9. Panda Bear - Afterburner (Tomboy)

10. London Suede - Daddy’s Speeding (Dog Man Star)



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Categorized: Friday MP3 Shuffle

Topics: bessie smith

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