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Trixie Smith Vol. 1 1922-1924

Trixie Smith

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Album Review

Part of the European Document label's giant prewar blues reissue series includes two Trixie Smith CDs that repackage all of her recordings. The second disc is the preferred acquisition, but Vol. 1 is not without interest. The majority of Smith's recordings (particularly in the early days) were vaudeville and pop songs, but on the relatively rare occasions when she sang a lowdown blues, she fared quite well. The first volume starts out with four numbers that are dated either January or March 1922 here, but are probably from September and November 1921. Trixie Smith improved on records as time went on; her first few numbers have rather dated accompaniment. In fact, despite the presence of pianist James P. Johnson (who is well buried on two numbers), her musicians do not get very stimulating until after the first 20 of the 25 numbers. Most notable among the selections are "He May Be Your Man" (which has some familiar lyrics), "My Man Rocks Me" (a song that would be among Trixie's most famous), the heated "Ride Jockey Ride," and a couple of train songs ("Freight Train Blues" and "Choo Choo Blues"), which would become one of her specialties. This is historic music that set the stage for Trixie's later, generally superior performances.

Biography

Born: 1895 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s

One of the classic blues Smith singers of the 1920s (although unrelated to Bessie, Clara and Mamie), Trixie Smith had a distinctive voice and a pleasing style of her own. She studied at Selma University, moved to New York in 1915, and performed in vaudeville and on the TOBA circuit. Smith worked in New York's theaters during the 1920s and '30s as an actress-singer and stayed active throughout her life. She recorded prolifically during 1922-25 for Black Swan and Paramount with her best-known dates...
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Trixie Smith Vol. 1 1922-1924, Trixie Smith
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