Thursday, August 9, 2007
Isn't this picture of Mamie Smith wonderful? I'm not sure what it is exactly--maybe it's the way she's holding her body, or the way she's all tangled up with the beads--but I think the image is very sexy in an innocent, happy way. I was wandering around the net looking for old blues recordings (one of my many time-sucking habits) and found a nice MP3 of Mamie singing "Crazy Blues." The quality is surprisingly good, considering that the recording dates from 1920. Bessie Smith usurped Mamie's place as the queen of the blues, and probably rightfully so, but it's clear from this song that Mamie had a much prettier, more polished voice.
Whoever put the clip below on Youtube didn't bother to give its source, but I assume it's "Jailhouse Blues," made in 1929. Complete with French subtitles, in case you need 'em.