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In the s, he again worked with Columbia, writing the liner notes for a ten compact disc set of Smith's complete recordings. The fifth and last volume of the complete recordings provides some wonderful insight into the research that Albertson did for the first edition of Bessie, for it contains over an hour's worth of interview excerpts with Ruby Walker, Bessie's niece, confidant, and touring companion. Walker was possibly Albertson's single most important source of information, and her interviews with the author are noteworthy for their candor, humor, and outrageousness.

In fact, this volume is the only one in the series to carry a "parental advisory" warning of "explicit lyrics" Bessie Smith: The Complete Recordings, vol.

This warning label was probably attached to alert buyers to the very candid and sexually explicit descriptions that Walker gives when describing, for example, a "buffet flat," a type of private club that offered drinking and gambling, as well as erotic shows; Albertson's description of the buffet flat is clearly drawn from this recorded interview pp. Even without Bessie Smith's remarkable recorded legacy, her life story is a fascinating one, and Albertson provides ample evidence that her "persona commanded as much attention as her music" p.

Smith was born into abject poverty in Chattanooga, Tennessee, probably in Both of her parents had died by the time she was about nine, leaving the oldest of her six siblings to raise Bessie and the others. Bessie performed on street corners with her brother Andrew, who played guitar, and later honed her craft on the vaudeville stage.

Although Smith had been performing professionally for over a decade, her first documented recording was for Columbia Records in February An unknown error has occurred.

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Read preview. Read preview Overview. Making a Joyful Noise: Music or Ministry? Smith's life, all the while treating her with the empathy and dignity that an artist of her great talent deserves. This book also offers a glimpse into the world of the black entertainer before and during the Depression with it's accompanying joys, frustrations, and down right hardships.

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Buy It Now. Add to cart. Bessie by Chris Albertson , Paperback, Revised. About this product Product Information This book--a revised and expanded edition of the definitive biography of Bessie Smith, known as the "Empress of the Blues"--debunks many of the myths that circulated after her untimely death in For this new edition, Chris Albertson provides more details of Bessie's early years, new interview material, and a chapter devoted to events and responses that followed the original publication.

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