I’ve been a huge fan of Bessie Smith since a friend put “Gimme A Pig Foot” on a mix tape back in college in the early 90s. Known as the ‘Empress of Blues,’ she was one of the biggest stars of the 20s. She started as a traveling singer and dancer, and became one of the biggest attractions in vaudeville, and blues singing.
“Cemetery Blues,” about a woman who goes to the graveyard to sing the blues to the ghosts and date a particular ghost named Jones, was recorded in 1923, making it the oldest song on this year’s mix. Bessie Smith is accompanied by New Orleans piano player, Clarence Williams, who started playing as a child in the hotel owned by his family and latter in honky-tonks in Storyville.