THE FEMININE TOUCH
More often than not, music history is the product of inspired persistence rather than affected design. Such was the case on August 10, 1920 when Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds entered the Okeh studios in New York City to record Crazy Blues, the first commercial recording of what we now recognize as blues music. Thus began the era of the “Classic Blues Singers,” black female Vaudeville-trained entertainers who, as the pioneering superstars of the fledgling genre, launched the “race record” industry and made the blues a nationwide craze.
Perry Bradford, the composer of Crazy Blues, had to jump a few hurdles to get the session approved. The prevailing attitude among record executives at the time was that African-Americans had neither the interest nor the financial means to buy pre-recorded music. How wrong they were. Within a year, Crazy Blues was reported to have sold an unprecedented one million copies. Rival labels like Paramount, Bluebird, Black Swan and Columbia, anxious to cash in, scoured the Vaudeville circuit signing and recording singers like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter and Lucille Bogan. (Continued...)
There have been many incredible perfomances at past Thunder Bay Blues Festivals! With amazing performances and plenty of activities for the whole family, it has always been an event not to be forgotten! Check out our photo galleries and caricatures: