Thursday, November 24, 1983

Nov. 24, 1933: Bessie Smith's final recording session

First posted March 6, 2011. Last updated September 8, 2018.

The Essential

Bessie Smith

Released: Sept. 23, 1997

Years Covered: Feb. 15, 1923 to Nov. 24, 1933


Sales (in millions):
US: --
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): --


Peak:
US: --
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: “If you’ve never experienced the genius of Bessie Smith, pick this one up and prepare yourself to be devastated.” – Cub Koda, All Music Guide


Genre: blues


Album Tracks – Disc 1:

  1. Aggravatin’ Papa (8/25/23, #12 US)
  2. Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home (9/1/23, #6 US)
  3. ‘Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness if I Do (10/20/23, #9 US)
  4. Jail-House Blues (1923)
  5. Graveyard Dream Blues (1923)
  6. Ticket Agent, Ease Your Window Down (1924)
  7. Boweavil Blues (1924)
  8. Weeping Willow Blues (1924)
  9. Dying Gambler’s Blues (1924)
  10. St. Louis Blues (6/13/25, #3 US)
  11. You’ve Been a Good Ole Wagon (1925)
  12. Cake Walkin’ Babies from Home (1925)
  13. Careless Love Blues (10/31/25, #5 US)
  14. I Ain’t Goin’ to Play Second Fiddle (11/28/25, #8 US)
  15. At the Christmas Ball (1925)
  16. Jazzbo Brown from Memphis Town (1926)
  17. Backwater Blues (1927)
  18. After You’ve Gone (8/6/27, #7 US)

Album Tracks – Disc 2:

  1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (10/15/27, #17 US)
  2. There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Time Tonight (1927)
  3. Trombone Cholly (1927)
  4. Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair (1927)
  5. A Good Man Is Hard to Find (recorded 1927, charted 3/10/28, #13 US)
  6. Dyin’ by the Hour (1927)
  7. Me and My Gin (1928)
  8. Kitchen Man (1929)
  9. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (8/31/29, #15 US)
  10. On Revival Day (A Rhythmic Spiritual) (1930)
  11. Moan, You Moaners (1930)
  12. Black Mountain Blues (1930)
  13. Shipwreck Blues (1931)
  14. Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl (1931)
  15. Do Your Duty (1933)
  16. Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer (1933)
  17. Take Me for a Buggy Ride (1933)
  18. Down in the Dumps (1933)

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

“Bessie Smith was crowned the Empress of the Blues, and, while this moniker was well deserved, she was much more. A prolific recording artist, Smith was quite an eclectic performer. In fact, she may have been one of the first true crossover artists.” LG “Bessie could sing it all, from the lowdown moan of St. Louis Blues and Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out to her torch treatment of the jazz standard After You’ve Gone to the downright salaciousness of Need a Little Sugar in My BowlCK or other “suggestive material [such] as Kitchen Man.” LG She “could breathe new life into a pop chestnut like Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” LG

The collection works its way through Smith’s entire career, from her very first recording session on February 15, 1923 through her final session on November 24, 1933. DA “This two-disc, 36-song set sweats it down to the bare essentials in quite an effective manner,” CK giving “the listener a good sampling of her wide repertoire.” LG “This is the perfect entry-level set.” CK

“Utilizing the latest in remastering technology, these recordings have never sounded quite this clear and full, and the selection – collecting her best-known sides and collaborations with jazz giants like Louis Armstrong” CK – ‘St. Louis Blues’…features [his] horn work” LG – Coleman Hawkins, and Benny Goodman – is first-rate. If you’ve never experienced the genius of Bessie Smith, pick this one up and prepare yourself to be devastated.” CK “The title of this album says it all.” LG


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