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The Very Best of Ma Rainey

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Album Review

Ma Rainey was the consummate blues diva of the 1920s and 1930s, tackling an amazing array of song styles (including blues, folk, pop, and minstrel songs) in every conceivable setting, working solo with guitarists and piano players, fronting jug bands, small jazz combos, and even big bands, where her strong voice (and even stronger personality) always carried the room. This collection pulls together a selection of her 78s. Highlights include two versions of her wink at the signature blues song "Bo Weavil Blues" and the thinly veiled threat "Black Eye Blues."

Biography

Born: 26 April 1886 in Columbus, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s

Ma Rainey wasn't the first blues singer to make records, but by all rights she probably should have been. In an era when women were the marquee names in blues, Rainey was once the most celebrated of all; the "Mother of the Blues" had been singing the music for more than 20 years before she made her recording debut (Paramount, 1923). With the advent of blues records, she became even more influential, immortalizing such songs as "See See Rider," "Bo-Weavil Blues," and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." Like...
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The Very Best of Ma Rainey, Ma Rainey
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