Saturday 17 June 2023

Move your finger, drop something in my bowl

Bessie Smith made 160 recordings in her short-lived, yet tumultuous, singing career; many of them before the great American depression of the 1930s. Each and every one a nailed on blues classic. Her jazzy, bluesy stylings straddled subject matter most recording artists of the time would politely backheel: sex and sexuality, addiction, poverty & oppression were all grist to her mill and delighted her faithful followers. She lived life at a million miles an hour and crammed more into her 43 years on this planet than most mere mortals who may live twice as long. (The 2015 biopic
Bessie tells the story of her amazing life* - Queen Latifah playing the Empress of the Blues.) 

Bessie Smith - Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl(1931)

Bessie Smith (1894-1937)

* Not just her life, even her death reads like something out of a pulp fiction pot boiler. 


  1. Jackie Kay wrote an excellent book about her
    Bessie Smith

  2. That's right, she did. And a lot to write about too. She's up there with Billie Holiday for me.

  3. Superb choice, thanks, John

    1. They call it the first ‘Dirty Blues’ record. Double, and indeed, single, entendres abound!