Sunday, July 4, 2010

Roots of Blues -- Ma Rainey „Shave 'Em Dry Blues"

Recorded: Chicago, August 1924 Guitar Duet, Possibly Milas Pruit and another. Sorry 'bout the quality, but . . . its over 80 years old, and I am happy to bring it that far Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett Rainey, better known as Ma Rainey (April 26, 1886 -- December 22, 1939), was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first generation of such singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues. She did much to develop and popularize the form and was an important influence on younger blues women, such as Bessie Smith, and their careers. Rainey was born in Columbus, Georgia. She first appeared on stage in Columbus in "A Bunch of Blackberries" at fourteen. She then joined a traveling vaudeville troupe, the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. After hearing a blues song at a theater in St. Louis, Missouri, sung by a local girl in 1902, she started performing in a blues style. She claimed at that time that she was the one who coined the name "blues" for the style that she specialized in. In the one known interview she did, Rainey told the following story, In 1902 "a girl from town... came to the tent one morning and began to sing about the "man" who left her. The song was so strange and poignant that it attracted much attention,and Rainey learned the song fron the visitor, and used it soon afterwards in her "act"." Audiences reacted strongly to the song. She married fellow vaudeville singer William "Pa" Rainey in 1904, billing herself from that ...

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