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Sandra Hall

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b. c. 1948, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Hall sang from very early childhood, singing not only in church but also performing for admiring customers at her grandmother’s fish fry. From the age of 12 she sang in a duo, the Soul Sisters, with her sister Barbara Hall. From the mid-60s she sang and danced with the Exotic, a female group that sometimes opened for touring blues and soul artists visiting Atlanta, in particular at the Royal Peacock, one of the city’s leading nightclubs. Later, Hall worked as a nurse in Atlanta, singing part time, and she also raised her daughter. Reportedly, Hall also performed as a go-go dancer and stripper and if true, this element of her past might account for the emergence in her live performances of vibrant and sensual undercurrents. Unafraid to offer highly charged songs that are replete with innuendo, if not outright sexuality, Hall is perhaps best caught live although her recordings retain some of that same earthy drive. Hall began recording in the mid-70s and successfully blended earthy blues with soaring soul. Any blues singer who takes as her billing the accolade, ‘Empress of the Blues’, has a lot to live up to and if Hall is no Bessie Smith then she is certainly worthy of a wider audience than has so far been hers although she has visited Europe where she attracted attention from fans and critics alike in Switzerland, where she sang at the Montreux Festival, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy. Songs in her repertoire include ‘Pump Up Your Love’, ‘Ball And Chain’, ‘I Got Everything I Need’, ‘One Drop Will Do You’, ‘Find You A Job’, ‘Use What You Got’ and ‘Big Long Slidin’ Thing’. In 2005 she appeared at the W.C. Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival. Hall is a friend and mentor to newcomers such as Shemekia Copeland. In addition to performing, Hall also visits schools in the south, talking about the culture of the blues and teaching blues singing.

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1948 in Atlanta, GA

Years Active:

'90s, '00s