Tuesday, April 7, 2009

MAMIE SMITH, "Crazy Blues"

“Queen of the Blues”

Mamie Smith was the first black woman to record a blues song, “Crazy Blues”, on August 10, 1920. The song became a best seller, selling a million copies on just one year. She was phenomenally successful and her “authentically black” records were termed “race records.” Her records were largely purchased by African Americans, a market that the record industry had previously neglected. Her work mainly in New York City gave her a competitive advantage in making and landing recordings. Her success prompted record companies to seek out other female blues singers to record and she initiated an era of classic female blues music, opening up the record industry to blacks.

Her music was so influential that her recordings were re-released in the 1980’s. The song was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994 and in 2005 was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.

Mamie Smith, Crazy Blues, Okeh Records, original release date: august 10, 1920
Mamie Smith. COmplete Recorded Works Vol 3. CD, catalog no. 1021436, re-released d ate Mar 21, 2002

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