Album Reviews: Macrodosing Vaudeville and cheap gold by Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and Hank Williams

Browsing through my cd-shelf to dig up desperate buys from my teenage years led me to find my first Bessie Smith-record: 1990’s The Gold Collection, a cheap European double-package offering 40 of her 160 songs – that wasn’t bad before streaming technology. This reminded me that I acquired honkytonk-hero Hank Williams from the same series: His The Gold Collection is amazingly from 2004, 40 songs trying to recreate his highly praised 40 Greatest Hits, the most potent double-disc from his catalogue. Cheap and nice as these European budget releases were around the millenium, let’s be serious: The way to acquire Bessie Smith’s complete recordings is easy, so start with the first CD-effort, 1991’s The Complete Recordings Vol. 1 (of 5). And since we’re all about vaudeville blues and its complete listening history right now, I took a look at Ma Rainey’s JSP-box set Mother of the Blues (2007). There’s nothing much to say, Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith’s complete recordings just lie around for the taking, go for it. For more info about complete blues discographies, check my list Complete Blues Discographies.

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