The Complete Columbia Recordings

The Complete Columbia Recordings

by Bessie Smith


1 New & Used Starting at $155.97


When Columbia issued the first of the five volumes in Bessie Smith's complete recordings series in 1991 -- as a logical follow-up to 1990's wildly successful Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings box -- they were simply hoping for another hit. As the Smith series continued through to its conclusion in 1996, each volume was greeted with more enthusiasm than the last. These volumes eventually went out of print in the 21st century and left a void in her catalog. As part of its Complete Recordings series, Sony Legacy has repackaged those five volumes in a compact, handsome, justly priced ten-disc box. Each double-disc is given its own gatefold, LP-styled sleeve, and its tracks replicate the chronology of the original sets. This box contains a liner essay by musical historian, archivist, and writer Ken Romanowski and features full discographical annotation. These recordings cover a decade-long span from 1923-1933, when Smith was a million-plus-selling artist who was justly dubbed, "Empress of the Blues," and almost singlehandedly created a mass market for blues recordings in the United States. While the general populace will be familiar with her hits such as "Empty Bed Blues," "T'Ain Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do," "St. Louis Blues," "A Little Sugar in My Bowl," and many others recorded by other artists, most blues aficionados regard these original recorded performances as definitive versions. Just as importantly, Smith's accompaniment reads like a who's-who of some of the most legendary names in the early history of jazz. They include Louis Armstrong, James P. Johnson, Fletcher Henderson, Chu Berry, Eddie Lang, Jack Teagarden, Clarence Williams, and many others. Disc nine contains the music from the 1929 biographical short film St. Louis Blues, and session outtakes and alternates. The final disc contains a fascinating, often hilarious interview by Chris Albertson with Ruby Smith (Smith's niece by marriage and a fine blues singer in her own right) about the life and adventures of Bessie. While it's true that there isn't anything here that hasn't been released before, this set is of great musical and historical value; it's essential for any blues enthusiast who didn't purchase the original sets.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/06/2012
Label: Sony Legacy
UPC: 0887254031024
catalogNumber: 540310


Disc 1

  1. Down Hearted Blues
  2. Gulf Coast Blues
  3. Aggravatin' Papa
  4. Beale Street Mama
  5. Baby Won't You Please Come Home
  6. Oh Daddy Blues
  7. 'Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do
  8. Keeps On A-Rainin' (Papa, He Can't Make No Time)
  9. Mama's Got The Blues
  10. Outside Of That
  11. Bleeding Hearted Blues
  12. Lady Luck Blues
  13. Yodling Blues
  14. Midnight Blues
  15. If You Don't, I Know Who Will
  16. Nobody In Town Can Bake A Sweet Jelly Roll Like Mine
  17. Jail-House Blues
  18. St. Louis Gal
  19. Sam Jones Blues

Disc 2

  1. Graveyard Dream Blues
  2. Cemetery Blues
  3. Far Away Blues
  4. I'm Going Back To My Used To Be
  5. Whoa, Tillie, Take Your Time
  6. My Sweetie Went Away
  7. Any Woman's Blues
  8. Chicago Bound Blues
  9. Mistreating Daddy
  10. Frosty Morning Blues
  11. Haunted House Blues
  12. Eavesdropper's Blues
  13. Easy Come, Easy Go Blues
  14. Sorrowful Blues
  15. Pinchbacks - Take 'Em Away
  16. Rocking Chair Blues
  17. Ticket Agent, Ease Your Window Down
  18. Boweavil Blues
  19. Hateful Blues

Disc 3

  1. Frankie Blues
  2. Moonshine Blues
  3. Lou'siana Low-Down Blues
  4. Mountain Top Blues
  5. Work House Blues
  6. House Rent Blues
  7. Salt Water Blues
  8. Rainy Weather Blues
  9. Weeping Willow Blues
  10. The Bye Bye Blues
  11. Sing Sing Prison Blues
  12. Follow the Deal On Down
  13. Sinful Blues
  14. Woman's Trouble Blues
  15. Love Me Daddy Blues
  16. Dying Gambler's Blues
  17. The St. Louis Blues
  18. Reckless Blues
  19. Sobbin' Hearted Blues

Disc 4

  1. Cold In Hand Blues
  2. You've Been a Good Ole Wagon
  3. Cake Walkin' Babies (From Home)
  4. The Yellow Dog Blues
  5. Soft Pedal Blues
  6. Dixie Flyer Blues
  7. Nashville Women's Blues
  8. Careless Love Blues
  9. J.C. Holmes Blues
  10. I Ain't Goin' To Play No Second Fiddle
  11. He's Gone Blues
  12. Nobody's Blues But Mine
  13. I Ain't Got Nobody
  14. My Man Blues
  15. New Gulf Coast Blues
  16. Florida Bound Blues
  17. At the Christmas Ball
  18. I've Been Mistreated and I Don't Like It

Disc 5

  1. Red Mountain Blues
  2. Golden Rule Blues
  3. Lonesome Desert Blues
  4. Them "Has Been" Blues
  5. Squeeze Me
  6. What's the Matter Now?
  7. I Want Every Bit of It
  8. Jazzbo Brown From Memphis Town
  9. The Gin House Blues
  10. Money Blues
  11. Baby Doll
  12. Hard Driving Papa
  13. Lost Your Head Blues
  14. Hard Time Blues
  15. Honey Man Blues
  16. One and Two Blues
  17. Young Woman's Blues
  18. Preachin' the Blues
  19. Back Water Blues
  20. After You've Gone
  21. Alexander's Ragtime Band

Disc 6

  1. Muddy Water (a Mississippi Moan)
  2. There'll Be a Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight
  3. Trombone Cholly
  4. Send Me To the 'Lectric Chair
  5. Them's Graveyard Words
  6. Hot Spring Blues
  7. Sweet Mistreater
  8. Lock and Key
  9. Mean Old Bedbug Blues
  10. A Good Man is Hard To Find
  11. Homeless Blues
  12. Looking For My Man Blues
  13. Dyin' By the Hour
  14. Foolish Man Blues
  15. Thinking Blues
  16. Pickpocket Blues
  17. I Used To Be Your Sweet Mama
  18. I'd Rather Be Dead and Buried In My Grave

Disc 7

  1. Standin' In the Rain Blues
  2. It Won't Be You
  3. Spider Man Blues
  4. Empty Bed Blues, Pt. 1
  5. Empty Bed Blues, Pt. 2
  6. Put It Right Here (or Keep It Out There)
  7. Yes Indeed He Do!
  8. Devil's Gonna Git You
  9. You Ought To Be Ashamed
  10. Washwoman's Blues
  11. Slow and Easy Man
  12. Poor Man's Blues
  13. Please Help Me Get Him Out of My Mind
  14. Me and My Gin
  15. I'm Wild About That Thing
  16. You've Got To Give Me Some
  17. Kitchen Man
  18. I've Got What It Takes (But It Breaks My Heart To Give It Away)
  19. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
  20. Take It Right Back ('Cause I Don't Want It Here)

Disc 8

  1. He's Got Me Goin'
  2. It Makes My Love Come Down
  3. Wasted Life Blues
  4. Dirty No-Gooder's Blues
  5. Blue Spirit Blues
  6. Worn Out Papa Blues
  7. You Don't Understand
  8. Don't Cry Baby
  9. Keep It To Yourself
  10. New Orleans Hop Scop Blues
  11. See If I'll Care
  12. Baby Have Pity On Me
  13. On Revival Day (a Rhythmic Spiritual)
  14. Moan, You Moaners
  15. Hustlin' Dan
  16. Black Mountain Blues
  17. In the House Blues
  18. Long Old Road
  19. Blue Blues
  20. Shipwreck Blues

Disc 9

  1. Need a Little Sugar In My Bowl
  2. Safety Mama
  3. Do Your Duty
  4. Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer
  5. Take Me For a Buggy Ride
  6. I'm Down In the Dumps
  7. The Yellow Dog Blues
  8. Soft Pedal Blues
  9. Nashville Women's Blues
  10. Careless Love Blues
  11. Muddy Water (a Mississippi Moan)
  12. St. Louis Blues Soundtrack: Band Intro/Crap Game/St. Louis Blues

Disc 10

  1. Bessie Disappears
  2. Waldorf-Astoria Party
  3. Bessie & Jack, Pt. 1
  4. Bessie & Jack, Pt. 2/Bessie & The Ladies
  5. Life On the Road, Pt. 1
  6. Life On the Road, Pt. 2
  7. Life On The Road, Pt. 3/Bessie & Gertrude Saunders

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bessie Smith   Primary Artist,Vocals
Buster Bailey   Clarinet,Accompaniment
Chu Berry   Tenor Saxophone
James P. Johnson   Piano,Accompaniment
Eddie Lang   Guitar,Accompaniment
Jack Teagarden   Trombone
Harry Reser   Guitar,Accompaniment
Don Redman   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Accompaniment
Coleman Hawkins   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Tommy Ladnier   Cornet,Accompaniment
Ed Allen   Cornet,Accompaniment
Louis Armstrong   Cornet,Accompaniment
George Baquet   Clarinet,Accompaniment
Bessemer Singers   Accompaniment
Garvin Bushell   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Accompaniment
Buddy Christian   Banjo
June Cole   Tuba,Accompaniment
Demas Dean   Cornet,Cornemeuse,Accompaniment
Charlie Dixon   Banjo
Fletcher Henderson   Piano,Accompaniment
Porter Grainger   Guitar,Piano,Accompaniment
Jimmy Harrison   Trombone
Shelton Hemphill   Cornet,Accompaniment
Jimmy Jones   Piano,Accompaniment
Fred Longshaw   Piano,Reed Organ,Accompaniment
Elmer Snowden   Banjo
Ruby Smith   Dialogue
Cyrus St. Clair   Tuba,Accompaniment
Greely Walton   Tenor Saxophone,Accompaniment
Buck Washington   Piano,Leader
Clarence Williams   Piano,Accompaniment
Ernest Elliott   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Accompaniment
Ralph Escudero   Tuba
Abraham Wheat   Clarinet,Soprano Saxophone,Accompaniment
Charlie Green   Trombone,Accompaniment
Floyd Casey   Drums,Accompaniment
Clara Smith   Vocals
Billy Taylor   String Bass
Charles Dixon   Banjo,Accompaniment
Bob Fuller   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Accompaniment
Irving Johns   Piano,Accompaniment
Harry Hull   String Bass,Accompaniment
John Griffin   Guitar,Accompaniment
Stanley Miller   Piano,Accompaniment
Bobby Johnson   Guitar
Irving Jones   Piano,Accompaniment
Robert Robbins   Violin,Accompaniment
Isadore Myers   Piano
Kaiser Marshall   Drums,Accompaniment
Lincoln M. Conaway   Guitar,Accompaniment
Joe Williams   Trombone,Accompaniment
Buck & His Band   Accompaniment
Russell Smith   Trumpet,Accompaniment
Johnson, Rosamund & The Hall Johnson Mixed Vocal Choir   Choir, Chorus
Joe Smith   Cornet,Accompaniment
Her Blue Boys   Accompaniment
Frank Newton   Trumpet
Steve Stevens   Piano,Accompaniment
Henderson's Hot Six   Accompaniment
Louis Metcalfe   Trumpet,Cornet,Accompaniment
Down Home Trio   Accompaniment

Technical Credits

Bessie Smith   Duet
W.C. Handy   Composer
Andy Razaf   Composer
Chris Albertson   Interviewer
Bessemer Singers   Vocal Group
Larry Cohn   Producer
Tim Geelan   Engineer
John Berg   Art Direction
Clara Smith   Duet
David Mitson   Engineer
Ken Romanowski   Liner Notes
Edward O'Dowd   Reissue Design
Mike Panico   Archival Assistant
Tom Tierney   Archival Assistant
Balcom   Composer
Che Williams   Archival Assistant

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