This really is only one of the musicians that helped define the genre of the blues. The early blues artists contributed significantly to the music, whether in the guitar) or vocal talents (normally through their instrumental abilities, and their early records and performances served to affect a generation of blues artists. Whether you are a beginner to the music or a lover of the blues, this is actually the place to begin.
Known as “The Empress of the Blues,” Bessie Smith was both the greatest and the most well-known of the female singers of the 1920s. A strong, independent woman and a robust vocalist that could sing in both jazz and blues styles, Smith was also the most successful of the age’s singers. Sadly, the general public’s interest in blues and jazz singers – Smith and 1930s was dropped by her label.
Smith returned to her origins and sang in little clubs for a pittance – a far cry from her peak, when she performed in theatres and resort ballrooms throughout the country. Smith’s finest material could be heard in the two-CD set The Essential Bessie Smith (Columbia/Legacy).
Take a listen to Bessie Smith’s “Nobody Knows When You’re Down & Out”