30 SEC SAMPLE:  'SEND ME TO THE 'LECTRIC CHAIR'
Bessie Smith , Blues Singer Born: 15 April 1894 Birthplace: Chattanooga, Tennessee     Died: 26 September 1937 (automobile crash) Best Known As: Classic. 
Bessie Smith. The Legendary Bessie Smith. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1894. You want Blues ? You want soul ? You got it in Bessie Smith. Bessie was known as "The Empress of Soul" - a title she well and truly earned and deserved. Soulful phrasing with a no - nonsense delivery, She had a definitive grasp of The Blues. Bessie was an all round entertainer who danced, acted, and also performed comedy routines with her own touring company. She was the highest paid Artiste of her time and reached a level of success greater than any Afro American Female singer before her. Poverty was the lot of most black people back then, and, like many others, Bessie saw her salvation in Show business. She was heavily influenced by Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, The Mother of the Blues. After 10 years of hard work on stage Bessie signed with"Columbia" Records in 1923. Her very first record "Down Hearted blues" b/w "Gulf Coast Blues" sold 800,000 copies. This was in 1923 !  This established her as a Prime Force in the Black Record market. Her life in the South gave her the necessary guts and power so aptly displayed in her vocal delivery. Raw, no bullshit, tell it like it is , that's how Bessie laid it down. She was way ahead of her time in the message She handed out -  " Give us all a break, Get Real, Liberate Us, especially The Afro -American Women".  On a personal note I'm a Champion of Women's Rights, It's disgusting and perverse how women are still relegated to the position of being second class citizens. DISGUSTING.  Although I'm " white", people have asked me if I'm pro-black. My reply is "I'm Pro-Humanity"  I'm a Champion of the underdog. I don't see the colour of a man's skin. Bessie recorded many hits in the 20's including "Backwater Blues" " 'Tain't Nobody's Bizness if I Do" " St. Louis Blues" { with Louis Armstrong} and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" - a personal favourite of mine. How true  that message is. Bessie was involved in a car accident outside Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1937 and died from her Injuries. Ah, what a dreadful loss to the World of Music. She left behind a wonderful, rich legacy of 160 songs cut between 1923 and 1933.  The many great female artists she influenced include Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. I leave you with this quote from Janis. " Bessie showed me the air, and taught me how to fill it". For those who have never heard Bessie Smith, Do your Soul a favour, Get some Bessie Smith today. God Bless Her Memory.  I consider my writing about her to be an Honour,  a Privelege and a Duty. Bessie was indudted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. (c)Moretti

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