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Bessie Tucker

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Very little is known of the classic blues belter Bessie Tucker, a product of the folk and field holler vocal traditions of her native East Texas region. A woman whose petite frame belied the earthy power of her voice, her legend is largely founded on a bawdy 1928 Memphis session for the Victor label on which she was accompanied by pianist K.D. Johnson; the date yielded her best-known track, "Penitentiary" (sung in honor of an institution to which she was reportedly no stranger). A 1929 date followed, at which time Tucker disappeared from performing, apparently for good; no data exists on the later events of her life. ~ Jason Ankeny

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