• by Chris Albertson
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 13 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Bessie Smith, the great singer known as the "Empress of the Blues", is considered by many to be the greatest blues singer of all time. She was also a successful vaudeville entertainer who became the highest-paid African American performer of the Roaring '20s. Chris Albertson's revised and expanded edition of the biography of this extraordinary artist debunks many of the myths that have circulated since her untimely death in 1937. Albertson writes with insight and candor about the singer's personal life and her career, supplementing his historical research with dozens of interviews with her relatives, friends, and associates, including Ruby Walker Smith, a niece by marriage who toured with Bessie for over a decade.


What the Critics Say

"The most devastating, provocative, and enlightening work of its kind ever contributed to the annals of jazz literature." ---Los Angeles Times


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Keeping it real for Bessie

Good story, even though it reads as a school text book.
This is perfect for research into early American music, Blues, Jazz, and female poplar singers, African American and otherwise. Bessie gives you a good understanding about how the music business and race relations interacted during the 20s and 30s. I highly recommend this book as a reality check for myths and legends and their failure to deliver a better story than the truth.
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- Gayle

Great read!. I saw the HBO mini series..and it was

awesome """""""""""""""""""""@@@@@@it was an awesome book and much richer than the HBO doc. great read.
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- Danielle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-19-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio