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Bessie Smith: Empress of the Blues
Friday, December 15th, 2017
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer. Nicknamed the “Empress of the Blues”, she was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. Bessie is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on other jazz singers. Ma Bessie (Julia Titus) and her blues troupe (Sam Kelly, Paul Jobson, Tony Qunta, Richard Sadler, Claude Deppa, Ray Carless, Chuck Lloyd) perform to a narrated show, featuring a large proportion of Bessie's work and other songs from the twenties and thirties. The show chronicles her life from a one-room shack in Blue Goose Hollow, to becoming the highest-paid black entertainer of that time, to the tragic accident on Route 61 in September 1937 that ended her life aged 43 years.