Empress of the Blues, Vol, 2: 1926-1933

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
JSP's Empress of the Blues, Vol.2 might well be the best Bessie Smith collection ever released in any format, for a number of reasons. In addition to the excellent audio remastering which characterizes most of this label's reissuing efforts, the stated time frame of volume two encompasses the last seven years of this amazing woman's recording career. It includes some of the finest sides she ever cut with anybody. Here are her priceless collaborations with pianist James P. Johnson. Their interaction on "Back Water Blues," "Lock and Key," and "Wasted Life Blues" virtually defines the magic of classic blues and jazz. Here are many of Smith's strongest recorded encounters ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Arwulf Arwulf
JSP's Empress of the Blues, Vol.2 might well be the best Bessie Smith collection ever released in any format, for a number of reasons. In addition to the excellent audio remastering which characterizes most of this label's reissuing efforts, the stated time frame of volume two encompasses the last seven years of this amazing woman's recording career. It includes some of the finest sides she ever cut with anybody. Here are her priceless collaborations with pianist James P. Johnson. Their interaction on "Back Water Blues," "Lock and Key," and "Wasted Life Blues" virtually defines the magic of classic blues and jazz. Here are many of Smith's strongest recorded encounters with members of the Fletcher Henderson and Clarence Williams bands. Her famous "St. Louis Blues" film soundtrack is part of this set, as are her last four recordings, cut in November 1933 with a hot jazz band led by pianist Buck Washington. She is roundly supported by trumpeter Frankie Newton, trombonist Jack Teagarden, saxophonist Chu Berry, and (on the rowdy "Gimme a Pigfoot") clarinetist Benny Goodman. All of this would suffice to place this set well among the top Bessie Smith collections. What distinguishes it from most of the rest (including about ten other similarly titled compilations) is the inclusion of 11 bonus tracks that half-fill the fourth disc. Most of them are test pressings; the rest are alternate takes, and these rarities are drawn from various points in her career, all the way back to 1923. They are the rarest Bessie Smith recordings in existence. Each and every one is exceptionally well performed, and the sound quality is as good as it gets. There is no topping this combination of her complete mature works and those previously unreleased tracks which are the "Dead Sea Scrolls" of Bessie Smith appreciation, miraculously rescued from oblivion and appended onto what has got to be the strongest possible choice for anyone interested in this artist and how she articulated the timeless realities of what it can mean to be a woman on this earth.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/27/2008
  • Label: Jsp Records
  • UPC: 788065903022
  • Catalog Number: 930
  • Sales rank: 190,525

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 One and Two Blues (2:58)
  2. 2 Young Woman's Blues (3:11)
  3. 3 Preachin' the Blues (2:48)
  4. 4 Back Water Blues (3:14)
  5. 5 After You've Gone - Bessie Smith & Her Band (2:53)
  6. 6 Alexander's Rag Time Band - Bessie Smith & Her Band (2:56)
  7. 7 Muddy Waters (Mississippi Moan) - Bessie Smith & Her Band (3:00)
  8. 8 There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight - Bessie Smith & Her Band (3:17)
  9. 9 Trombone Cholly (3:07)
  10. 10 Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair (3:18)
  11. 11 Them Graveyard Words (2:54)
  12. 12 Hot Springs Blues (2:52)
  13. 13 Sweet Mistreater (3:02)
  14. 14 Lock and Key (2:58)
  15. 15 Mean Old Bed Bug Blues (3:21)
  16. 16 A Good Man Is Hard to Find (3:08)
  17. 17 Homeless Blues (2:56)
  18. 18 Looking for My Man Blues (2:47)
  19. 19 Dyin' by the Hour (3:04)
  20. 20 Foolish Man Blues (3:00)
  21. 21 Thinking Blues (3:09)
  22. 22 Pickpocket Blues (2:44)
  23. 23 I Used to Be Your Sweet Mama (2:51)
  24. 24 I'd Rather Be Dead and Buried (2:57)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Standin' in the Rain (2:57)
  2. 2 It Won't Be You (2:49)
  3. 3 Spider Man Blues (3:21)
  4. 4 Empty Bed Blues, Pt. 1 (3:03)
  5. 5 Empty Bed Blues, Pt. 2 (3:23)
  6. 6 Put It Right in There (3:04)
  7. 7 Yes Indeed He Do (3:16)
  8. 8 Devil's Gonna Git You (3:12)
  9. 9 You Ought to Be Ashamed (3:08)
  10. 10 Washwoman's Blues (3:12)
  11. 11 Slow and Easy Man (2:56)
  12. 12 Poor Man's Blues (3:25)
  13. 13 Please Help Me Get Him off My Mind (2:56)
  14. 14 Me and My Gin (2:51)
  15. 15 I'm Wild About That Thing (2:51)
  16. 16 You've Got to Give Me Some (2:48)
  17. 17 Kitchen Man (3:01)
  18. 18 I've Got What It Takes (3:16)
  19. 19 Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (3:04)
  20. 20 Film Soundtrack "ST. Louis Blues" (8:37)
  21. 21 Take It Right Back (3:25)
  22. 22 He's Got Me Goin' (3:17)
  23. 23 It Makes My Love Come Down (3:00)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Wasted Life Blues (3:09)
  2. 2 Dirty No Gooder Blues (3:01)
  3. 3 Blue Spirit Blues (2:56)
  4. 4 Worn out Papa Blues (2:47)
  5. 5 You Don't Understand (3:07)
  6. 6 Don't Cry Baby (3:13)
  7. 7 Keep It to Yourself (3:27)
  8. 8 New Orleans Hop Scop Blues (2:57)
  9. 9 See If I Care (3:29)
  10. 10 Baby Have Pity on Me (3:18)
  11. 11 On Revival Day (2:56)
  12. 12 Moan Mourners (3:15)
  13. 13 Hustlin' Dan (3:36)
  14. 14 Black Mountain Blues (3:13)
  15. 15 In the House Blues (3:07)
  16. 16 Long Old Road (3:33)
  17. 17 Blue Blue (3:17)
  18. 18 Shipwreck Blues (3:27)
  19. 19 Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl (2:52)
  20. 20 Safety Mama (3:30)
  21. 21 Do Your Duty (3:26)
  22. 22 Gimme a Pigfoot (3:29)
  23. 23 Take Me for a Buggy Ride (2:36)
  24. 24 I'm Down in the Dumps (3:09)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Lady Luck Blues (3:10)
  2. 2 Yodelin' Blues (3:06)
  3. 3 Midnight Blues (2:53)
  4. 4 St. Louis Gal (3:09)
  5. 5 Frosty Mornin (3:19)
  6. 6 Yellow Dog Blues (2:59)
  7. 7 Soft Pedal (3:16)
  8. 8 Nashville Women's Blues (3:08)
  9. 9 Careless Love (3:24)
  10. 10 Muddy Water (Mississippi Moan) (3:03)
  11. 11 See If I Care (3:43)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bessie Smith Primary Artist, Vocals
Steve Stevens Piano
Buster Bailey Clarinet
Chu Berry Tenor Saxophone
Benny Goodman Clarinet
James P. Johnson Piano
Eddie Lang Guitar
Jack Teagarden Trombone
Joe Williams Trombone
Frankie Newton Trumpet
Harry Reser Guitar
Coleman Hawkins Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Tommy Ladnier Cornet
Ed Allen Cornet
Louis Armstrong Cornet
Louis Bacon Trumpet
Garvin Bushell Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Demas Dean Cornet
Charlie Dixon Banjo
Fletcher Henderson Piano
Porter Grainger Piano
Jimmy Harrison Trombone
Jimmy Jones Piano
Fred Longshaw Piano
Buck Washington Piano, Leader
Clarence Williams Piano
Ernest Elliott Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Abraham Wheat Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone
Charlie Green Trombone
Floyd Casey Drums
Billy Taylor Sr. String Bass
Bob Fuller Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Irving Johns Piano
Harry Hull String Bass
Greely Watson Tenor Saxophone
Bobby Johnson Guitar
Kaiser Marshall Drums
The Russell Smith Orchestra Trumpet
Joe Smith Cornet
Louisa Metcalfe Cornet
Johnson, Rosamund & The Hall Johnson Mixed Vocal Choir Choir, Chorus
Technical Credits
Chris Albertson Biographical Information
Cyrus St. Clair Brass Band
Bob Escudero Brass Band
June Cole Orchestra Brass Band
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