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Sunday 16 February 2020

Bessie Smith The Empress of the Blues

2020 Charity Shop Purchase 10 -  Bessie Smith - The Empress of the Blues 

No not The Blues Collection although Bessie Smith has featured as part of that series before
Oxfam in Troon has proved to be a happy hunting ground for Blues CDs and this visit was no exception.
The Empress of the Blues is a cheap and cheerful 23 track compilation of songs by the most popular female Blues singer of the 1920s and 30s.
Popular and controversial both in her lifestyle and in her songs.
Not only was she the Empress of the Blues she was also the Queen of the Ephemism and the Duchess of the Double Entendre.
I have not posted Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl as I am conscious that there are children and people of a nervous disposition out there. For the same reasons I shall forego Nobody in Town Can Bake a Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine

According to Wiki  Smith advocated for a wider vision of African-American womanhood beyond domesticity, piety, and conformity; she sought empowerment and happiness through independence, sassiness, and sexual freedom. Although Smith was a voice for many minority groups and one of the most gifted blues performers of her time, the themes in her music were precocious, which led to many believing that her work was undeserving of serious recognition.

Here are a couple you may be familiar with and one which I suspect may well involve ephenisms.

Bessie Smith - Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

Bessie Smith - T'Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do

Bessie Smith - You've Been a Good Ole Wagon (But You Done Broke Down)


  1. "A couple you may be familiar with" (fnar, fnar).

    Once you get started you see those double entendres everywhere.

  2. I can see a double entendre in the title of the third track you've posted

  3. I sometimes bump into the odd stray Blues Collection volume in my travels around the charity shops of East Anglia and every time I do I make a mental note to ask you which volumes you are still on the lookout for. Then I leave the charity shop and almost immediately forget. So here I am now...asking...while I think of it.

    1. I now keep a list in my wallet which stops the purchase of doublers.
      Only 5, 7-8,11, 14-17,22, 32-33,36,40-41,44-47,54,61-63,65-66,71,76,80,82-87 and 89-94 to get.
      At the moment still enjoying the thrill of the chase.

      Stey tuned for an update