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Bessie Smith: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 4
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop
These recordings reaching from the height of Bessie Smith's fame into her decline in popularity are required listening, covering the years 1928 through 1931. Not only was her voice stronger than ever, but her control over ... more »
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These recordings reaching from the height of Bessie Smith's fame into her decline in popularity are required listening, covering the years 1928 through 1931. Not only was her voice stronger than ever, but her control over the material was topnotch; she balanced on the fine line between seductive charm and overt sexuality with apparent ease. Some of her best material ever appears on volume 4 of this 5-volume set, including "Standin' in the Rain Blues," "Empty Bed Blues" (speaking of overtness...), "Devil's Gonna Git You," "I'm Wild About That Thing," "Blue Spirit Blues"... but it's useless to even try to list favorites. Smith's voice is so rich and expressive despite the primitive recording technology of the day, one can only imagine what it must have been like to hear her live. And trombonist Charlie Green and pianist James P. Johnson are featured prominently here as well. --Genevieve Williams
Bessie on Columbia: 'Bout as Good as it Gets...
Sébastien Melmoth | Hôtel d'Alsace, PARIS | 12/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is quite a nice set. Columbia was Bessie's own label, and Sony has done a nice job of issuing her tracks on CD: the sound is great. Nice booklet too.
I always like the Chronological Classics (Melodie label), and they have five discs of Bessie; still, the Complete Recordings on Columbia is a really nice set at a really good price. Can't go wrong here: includes the three great tracks Bessie recorded on 8 May 1929 with Clarence Williams (piano) & Eddie Lang (guitar): "I'm Wild About that Thing," "You've Got to Give Me Some," and "Kitchen Man."