The Complete Columbia Recordings

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
When Columbia issued the first of the five volumes in Bessie Smith's complete recordings series in 1991 -- as a logical follow-up to 1990's wildly successful Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings box -- they were simply hoping for another hit. As the Smith series continued through to its conclusion in 1996, each volume was greeted with more enthusiasm than the last. These volumes eventually went out of print in the 21st century and left a void in her catalog. As part of its Complete Recordings series, Sony Legacy has repackaged those five volumes in a compact, handsome, justly priced ten-disc box. Each double-disc is given its own gatefold, LP-styled sleeve, and its tracks...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
When Columbia issued the first of the five volumes in Bessie Smith's complete recordings series in 1991 -- as a logical follow-up to 1990's wildly successful Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings box -- they were simply hoping for another hit. As the Smith series continued through to its conclusion in 1996, each volume was greeted with more enthusiasm than the last. These volumes eventually went out of print in the 21st century and left a void in her catalog. As part of its Complete Recordings series, Sony Legacy has repackaged those five volumes in a compact, handsome, justly priced ten-disc box. Each double-disc is given its own gatefold, LP-styled sleeve, and its tracks replicate the chronology of the original sets. This box contains a liner essay by musical historian, archivist, and writer Ken Romanowski and features full discographical annotation. These recordings cover a decade-long span from 1923-1933, when Smith was a million-plus-selling artist who was justly dubbed, "Empress of the Blues," and almost singlehandedly created a mass market for blues recordings in the United States. While the general populace will be familiar with her hits such as "Empty Bed Blues," "T'Ain Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do," "St. Louis Blues," "A Little Sugar in My Bowl," and many others recorded by other artists, most blues aficionados regard these original recorded performances as definitive versions. Just as importantly, Smith's accompaniment reads like a who's-who of some of the most legendary names in the early history of jazz. They include Louis Armstrong, James P. Johnson, Fletcher Henderson, Chu Berry, Eddie Lang, Jack Teagarden, Clarence Williams, and many others. Disc nine contains the music from the 1929 biographical short film St. Louis Blues, and session outtakes and alternates. The final disc contains a fascinating, often hilarious interview by Chris Albertson with Ruby Smith (Smith's niece by marriage and a fine blues singer in her own right) about the life and adventures of Bessie. While it's true that there isn't anything here that hasn't been released before, this set is of great musical and historical value; it's essential for any blues enthusiast who didn't purchase the original sets.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/6/2012
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • UPC: 887254031024
  • Catalog Number: 540310
  • Sales rank: 128,990

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Down Hearted Blues (3:28)
  2. 2 Gulf Coast Blues (3:07)
  3. 3 Aggravatin' Papa (3:19)
  4. 4 Beale Street Mama (3:37)
  5. 5 Baby Won't You Please Come Home (2:58)
  6. 6 Oh Daddy Blues (3:07)
  7. 7 'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do (3:29)
  8. 8 Keeps On A-Rainin' (Papa, He Can't Make No Time) (3:09)
  9. 9 Mama's Got The Blues (2:58)
  10. 10 Outside Of That (3:30)
  11. 11 Bleeding Hearted Blues (3:08)
  12. 12 Lady Luck Blues (3:09)
  13. 13 Yodling Blues (3:13)
  14. 14 Midnight Blues (3:20)
  15. 15 If You Don't, I Know Who Will (3:37)
  16. 16 Nobody In Town Can Bake A Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine (3:33)
  17. 17 Jail-House Blues (3:16)
  18. 18 St. Louis Gal (3:30)
  19. 19 Sam Jones Blues (2:47)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Graveyard Dream Blues (2:46)
  2. 2 Cemetery Blues (3:31)
  3. 3 Far Away Blues (3:02)
  4. 4 I'm Going Back To My Used To Be (2:56)
  5. 5 Whoa, Tillie, Take Your Time (3:12)
  6. 6 My Sweetie Went Away (3:13)
  7. 7 Any Woman's Blues (3:27)
  8. 8 Chicago Bound Blues (3:18)
  9. 9 Mistreating Daddy (3:19)
  10. 10 Frosty Morning Blues (3:16)
  11. 11 Haunted House Blues (3:31)
  12. 12 Eavesdropper's Blues (3:13)
  13. 13 Easy Come, Easy Go Blues (3:11)
  14. 14 Sorrowful Blues (3:19)
  15. 15 Pinchbacks - Take 'Em Away (3:17)
  16. 16 Rocking Chair Blues (3:16)
  17. 17 Ticket Agent, Ease Your Window Down (3:20)
  18. 18 Boweavil Blues (2:54)
  19. 19 Hateful Blues (3:07)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Frankie Blues (3:33)
  2. 2 Moonshine Blues (3:19)
  3. 3 Lou'siana Low-Down Blues (3:25)
  4. 4 Mountain Top Blues (3:14)
  5. 5 Work House Blues (3:23)
  6. 6 House Rent Blues (3:07)
  7. 7 Salt Water Blues (3:29)
  8. 8 Rainy Weather Blues (3:38)
  9. 9 Weeping Willow Blues (3:12)
  10. 10 The Bye Bye Blues (3:20)
  11. 11 Sing Sing Prison Blues (3:06)
  12. 12 Follow the Deal On Down (3:18)
  13. 13 Sinful Blues (3:11)
  14. 14 Woman's Trouble Blues (3:07)
  15. 15 Love Me Daddy Blues (3:16)
  16. 16 Dying Gambler's Blues (3:00)
  17. 17 The St. Louis Blues (3:12)
  18. 18 Reckless Blues (3:05)
  19. 19 Sobbin' Hearted Blues (3:00)
Disc 4
  1. 1 Cold In Hand Blues (3:14)
  2. 2 You've Been a Good Ole Wagon (3:30)
  3. 3 Cake Walkin' Babies (From Home) (3:11)
  4. 4 The Yellow Dog Blues (3:05)
  5. 5 Soft Pedal Blues (3:21)
  6. 6 Dixie Flyer Blues (3:11)
  7. 7 Nashville Women's Blues (3:45)
  8. 8 Careless Love Blues (3:27)
  9. 9 J.C. Holmes Blues (3:05)
  10. 10 I Ain't Goin' To Play No Second Fiddle (3:23)
  11. 11 He's Gone Blues (3:11)
  12. 12 Nobody's Blues But Mine (2:53)
  13. 13 I Ain't Got Nobody (3:11)
  14. 14 My Man Blues (3:32)
  15. 15 New Gulf Coast Blues (3:23)
  16. 16 Florida Bound Blues (3:15)
  17. 17 At the Christmas Ball (3:26)
  18. 18 I've Been Mistreated and I Don't Like It (2:54)
Disc 5
  1. 1 Red Mountain Blues (3:13)
  2. 2 Golden Rule Blues (3:05)
  3. 3 Lonesome Desert Blues (3:26)
  4. 4 Them "Has Been" Blues (3:33)
  5. 5 Squeeze Me (2:53)
  6. 6 What's the Matter Now? (2:46)
  7. 7 I Want Every Bit of It (2:38)
  8. 8 Jazzbo Brown From Memphis Town (3:21)
  9. 9 The Gin House Blues (3:14)
  10. 10 Money Blues (3:11)
  11. 11 Baby Doll (3:01)
  12. 12 Hard Driving Papa (2:59)
  13. 13 Lost Your Head Blues (2:55)
  14. 14 Hard Time Blues (3:14)
  15. 15 Honey Man Blues (3:14)
  16. 16 One and Two Blues (2:55)
  17. 17 Young Woman's Blues (3:09)
  18. 18 Preachin' the Blues (2:52)
  19. 19 Back Water Blues (3:19)
  20. 20 After You've Gone (2:57)
  21. 21 Alexander's Ragtime Band (2:58)
Disc 6
  1. 1 Muddy Water (a Mississippi Moan) (3:08)
  2. 2 There'll Be a Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight (3:20)
  3. 3 Trombone Cholly (3:12)
  4. 4 Send Me To the 'Lectric Chair (3:23)
  5. 5 Them's Graveyard Words (2:59)
  6. 6 Hot Spring Blues (3:54)
  7. 7 Sweet Mistreater (2:05)
  8. 8 Lock and Key (2:59)
  9. 9 Mean Old Bedbug Blues (3:13)
  10. 10 A Good Man is Hard To Find (3:01)
  11. 11 Homeless Blues (3:01)
  12. 12 Looking For My Man Blues (2:49)
  13. 13 Dyin' By the Hour (3:00)
  14. 14 Foolish Man Blues (2:55)
  15. 15 Thinking Blues (3:10)
  16. 16 Pickpocket Blues (2:44)
  17. 17 I Used To Be Your Sweet Mama (2:51)
  18. 18 I'd Rather Be Dead and Buried In My Grave (2:56)
Disc 7
  1. 1 Standin' In the Rain Blues (2:55)
  2. 2 It Won't Be You (2:49)
  3. 3 Spider Man Blues (3:23)
  4. 4 Empty Bed Blues, Pt. 1 (3:02)
  5. 5 Empty Bed Blues, Pt. 2 (3:22)
  6. 6 Put It Right Here (or Keep It Out There) (3:00)
  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 (3:10)
  11. 11 Slow and Easy Man (2:57)
  12. 12 Poor Man's Blues (3:26)
  13. 13 Please Help Me Get Him Out of My Mind (2:57)
  14. 14 Me and My Gin (2:51)
  15. 15 I'm Wild About That Thing (2:50)
  16. 16 You've Got To Give Me Some (2:44)
  17. 17 Kitchen Man (2:58)
  18. 18 I've Got What It Takes (But It Breaks My Heart To Give It Away) (3:11)
  19. 19 Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (2:59)
  20. 20 Take It Right Back ('Cause I Don't Want It Here) (3:19)
Disc 8
  1. 1 He's Got Me Goin' (3:15)
  2. 2 It Makes My Love Come Down (2:57)
  3. 3 Wasted Life Blues (3:04)
  4. 4 Dirty No-Gooder's Blues (3:00)
  5. 5 Blue Spirit Blues (2:58)
  6. 6 Worn Out Papa Blues (2:50)
  7. 7 You Don't Understand (3:06)
  8. 8 Don't Cry Baby (3:11)
  9. 9 Keep It To Yourself (3:32)
  10. 10 New Orleans Hop Scop Blues (2:59)
  11. 11 See If I'll Care (3:25)
  12. 12 Baby Have Pity On Me (3:20)
  13. 13 On Revival Day (a Rhythmic Spiritual) (2:56)
  14. 14 Moan, You Moaners (3:13)
  15. 15 Hustlin' Dan (3:32)
  16. 16 Black Mountain Blues (3:10)
  17. 17 In the House Blues (3:02)
  18. 18 Long Old Road (3:27)
  19. 19 Blue Blues (3:14)
  20. 20 Shipwreck Blues (3:20)
Disc 9
  1. 1 Need a Little Sugar In My Bowl (2:50)
  2. 2 Safety Mama (3:26)
  3. 3 Do Your Duty (3:26)
  4. 4 Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer (3:30)
  5. 5 Take Me For a Buggy Ride (2:37)
  6. 6 I'm Down In the Dumps (3:12)
  7. 7 The Yellow Dog Blues (3:18)
  8. 8 Soft Pedal Blues (3:22)
  9. 9 Nashville Women's Blues (3:18)
  10. 10 Careless Love Blues (3:29)
  11. 11 Muddy Water (a Mississippi Moan) - Bessie Smith & Her Band (3:13)
  12. 12 St. Louis Blues Soundtrack: Band Intro/Crap Game/St. Louis Blues (14:48)
Disc 10
  1. 1 Bessie Disappears - Ruby Smith (4:50)
  2. 2 Waldorf-Astoria Party - Ruby Smith (7:15)
  3. 3 Bessie & Jack, Pt. 1 - Ruby Smith (2:52)
  4. 4 Bessie & Jack, Pt. 2/Bessie & The Ladies - Ruby Smith (10:23)
  5. 5 Life On the Road, Pt. 1 - Ruby Smith (11:13)
  6. 6 Life On the Road, Pt. 2 - Ruby Smith (14:01)
  7. 7 Life On The Road, Pt. 3/Bessie & Gertrude Saunders - Ruby Smith (21:20)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bessie Smith Primary Artist, Vocals
Buster Bailey Clarinet, Accompaniment
Chu Berry Tenor Saxophone
James P. Johnson Piano, Accompaniment
Eddie Lang Guitar, Accompaniment
Jack Teagarden Trombone
Harry Reser Guitar, Accompaniment
Don Redman Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Accompaniment
Coleman Hawkins Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
Tommy Ladnier Cornet, Accompaniment
Ed Allen Cornet, Accompaniment
Louis Armstrong Cornet, Accompaniment
George Baquet Clarinet, Accompaniment
The Bessemer Singers Accompaniment
Garvin Bushell Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Accompaniment
Buddy Christian Banjo
June Cole Tuba, Accompaniment
Demas Dean Cornet, Cornemeuse, Accompaniment
Charlie Dixon Banjo
Fletcher Henderson Piano, Accompaniment
Porter Grainger Guitar, Piano, Accompaniment
Jimmy Harrison Trombone
Shelton Hemphill Cornet, Accompaniment
Jimmy Jones Piano, Accompaniment
Fred Longshaw Piano, Reed Organ, Accompaniment
Elmer Snowden Banjo
Ruby Smith Dialogue
Cyrus St. Clair Tuba, Accompaniment
Greely Walton Tenor Saxophone, Accompaniment
Buck Washington Piano, Leader
Clarence Williams Piano, Accompaniment
Ernest Elliott Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Accompaniment
Ralph Escudero Tuba
Abraham Wheat Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Accompaniment
Charlie Green Trombone, Accompaniment
Floyd Casey Drums, Accompaniment
Clara Smith Vocals
Billy Taylor Sr. String Bass
Charles Dixon Banjo, Accompaniment
Bob Fuller Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Accompaniment
Irving Johns Piano, Accompaniment
Harry Hull String Bass, Accompaniment
John Griffin Guitar, Accompaniment
Stanley Miller Piano, Accompaniment
Bobby Johnson Guitar
Irving Jones Piano, Accompaniment
Robert Robbins Violin, Accompaniment
Isadore Myers Piano
Kaiser Marshall Drums, Accompaniment
Lincoln M. Conaway Guitar, Accompaniment
Joe Williams Trombone, Accompaniment
Buck & His Band Accompaniment
Russell Smith Trumpet, Accompaniment
Johnson, Rosamund & The Hall Johnson Mixed Vocal Choir Choir, Chorus
Joe Smith Cornet, Accompaniment
Her Blue Boys Accompaniment
Frank Newton Trumpet
Steve Stevens Piano, Accompaniment
Henderson's Hot Six Accompaniment
Louis Metcalfe Trumpet, Cornet, Accompaniment
Down Home Trio Accompaniment
Technical Credits
Bessie Smith Duet
W.C. Handy Composer
Andy Razaf Composer
Chris Albertson Interviewer
The Bessemer Singers Vocal Group
Larry Cohn Producer
Tim Geelan Engineer
John Berg Art Direction
Clara Smith Duet
David Mitson Engineer
Ken Romanowski Liner Notes
Edward O'Dowd Reissue Design
Mike Panico Archival Assistant
Tom Tierney Archival Assistant
Balcom Composer
Che Williams Archival Assistant
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