The point of this site is to collect the CDs and/or LPs you need to know and acquire in order to collect the entire available output of great blues performers in the leanest possible way. I started this list over at RateYourMusic. Note that this is a work in constant and continuous progress, there are far too many performers that could be on here for me to do this in any systematic or comprehensive way.

The list mostly busies itself with the great „pre-album“-era performers whose work is sometimes scattered and hard (but in some cases easy) to cobble together. I mostly don’t bother with work done as „sideman“ – so the list does not contain any last recording that, say, Muddy Waters participated in, just his output as a recording artist.

These lists tend to start out easy, as there was plenty of time to collect and compile most of the historically important early blues performers in a complete and sensible fashion.

But believe me, it does get tedious.

Start here:

Mamie Smith

Lived 1883–1946, recorded 1920–1942.

„The earliest surviving commercial recordings of black roots music were made by Okeh Records supervisor Fred Hagar (sometimes spelled Hager) and Ralph Peer, his assistant at the time, who recorded Mamie Smith in 1920. Smith was neither a blues specialist nor a southerner. She was a stage singer from Ohio, and the impetus to record her came from black songwriter Perry Bradford, who believed a female vocalist could sell records – and Bradford tunes – to both northern blacks and southern whites.“

(Epperson, Bruce: More Important Than the Music. A History of Jazz Discography. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press 2013, 91)

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1: 1920-1921 (Document DOCD-5357)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2: 1921-1922 (Document DOCD-5358)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3: 1922-1923 (Document DOCD-5359)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4: 1923-1942 (Document DOCD-5360)

Mamie Smith’s complete recordings


Lucille Hegamin

Lived 1894–1970, recorded 1920–1932, 1961–62.

Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Vol. 1 (1920-1922) (Document DOCD-5419)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol.2 (1922-1923) (Document DOCD-5420)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1923-1932) (Document DOCD-5421)
Lucille Hegamin Volume 4: Alternative Takes & Remaining Titles (1920-1926) (Document DOCD-1011)

For her rare 1960s appearances, check the respective albums, one under ALBERTA HUNTER and one under VICTORIA SPIVEY

Lucille Hegamin’s complete recordings


Clarence Williams

Lived 1893 or 1898–1965, recorded 1921–1947

This one is a bit more detailed. I usually don’t track sideman-work for these entries, but with Williams, things are different. He was so important as a composer, leader, sideman and co-credited artist/performer that the available discographies AND compilations collect his work that was credited to another recording artist. I mostly used this discography as a reference: http://www.harlem-fuss.com…s_clarence.pdf
I found some inconsistencies, but don’t be alarmed: If anything, there’s more stuff on the list below, not less.

Also, if you focus only on the entire Williams-„Chronogical Classics Series“, you won’t have every little bit, but the overwhelming part of his issued recordings. But since that series is about to become a bit elusive itself, it is probably not a more viable strategy than anything else.

First, you need to get the complete recordings of the following other blues/jazz artists. I’m not going to point out whether Williams plays on one, two or four tracks etc. on these. I mean, you could just get the compilations only collecting Williams stuff, but come on:

Daisy Martin: Daisy Martin & Ozie McPherson: Complete Recorded Works (1921-1926) in Chronological Order (DOCD-5522)  (Williams is suspected to play on some tracks)
Eva Taylor aka Irene Gibbons: In Chronological Order Volume 1 (c. September 1922 to c. 5 September 1923) (DOCD-5408), In Chronological Order Vol.2 (1923-1927) (DOCD-5409), In Chronological Order Vol.3 (1928-1932) (DOCD-5410), Edison Laterals 4 (album credited to Eva Taylor (Edison Lateral 4)
Bessie Smith: The Complete Recordings Vol. 1, The Complete Recordings Vol. 4 (C2K 52838)
Sara Martin: In Chronological Order, vol. 1 (1922-1923) (DOCD-5395) (Williams plays on some tracks), In Chronological Order, Volume 2 (1923-1924) (DOCD-5396), In Chronological Order, Volume 3 (1924-1925) (DOCD 5397), In Chronological Order, Volume 4 (1925-1928) (DOCD-5398)
Mamie Smith: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3: 1922-1923 (DOCD-5359)
Margaret Johnson: Complete Recorded Works (1923-27) (DOCD-5436)
Virginia Liston: Complete Recorded Works in Chronogical Order, Volume 1: 1923-1924 (DOCD 5446) (possibly on two tracks), Virginia Liston Volume 2 (1924 – 1926) (DOCD-5447)
Sippie Wallace: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1925) (DOCD-5399), Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1925-1945) (DOCD-5400)
Laura Smith: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 1 (1924-1927) (DOCD-5429)
Butterbeans and Susie: Volume 1 1924-1925 (DOCD-5544)
Lucille Hegamin: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1923-1932) (DOCD-5421)
James P. Johnson: 1928-1938 (Chronogical Classics 671) but this is already on Frog DGF 17 (see below) which you need anyway.
Victoria Spivey: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Volume 2 (DOCD-5317)
Lizzie Miles: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1928-39) (DOCD-5460)
King Oliver: for example 1926 – 1928 (Chronogical Classics 618), but preferably „Farewell Blues“ – King Oliver – Vocalion & Brunswick Recordings, Volume 2 (Frog DGF 35) (4 tracks with Clarence Williams)
Fats Waller: The Complete Recorded Works Volume 1: 1922-1929 – Messin‘ Around With the Blues (JSP CD 927) (1 additional alternate take)

Then, you need to do some clean-up and collect scattered tracks:
Document Records, clean up compilations:
Female Blues, The Remaining Titles (1921–1928) (2 tracks by Laura Smith) (DOCD-1005)
Clarence Williams & The Blues Singers Vol 1 1923–1928 (DOCD-5375)
Clarence Williams & The Blues Singers Vol 2 1927 – 1932 (DOCD-5376)
Original Bessie Brown / Liza Brown 1925–1929 (DOCD-5456)
Vocal Duets 1924 – 1931 (DOCD-5526, tracks by Charles & Effie Tyus)
„Too Late, Too Late“ More Newly Discovered Titles, Alternate Takes & Supplements, Volume 9 (1922-1945) (track by Charles & Effie Tyus, credited to Horace George) (DOCD-5590)
Classic Blues Jazz & Vaudeville Singers Vol 4 1921 – 1928 (DOCD-5627)

And here starts the list of Williams as a band leader:
Chronogical Classics Series, necessary issues (and yes, they spell it „chronogical“):
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1921 – 1924 (Chronogical Classics 679)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1924 – 1926 (Chronogical Classics 695)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1926 – 1927 (Chronological Classics 718)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1927 (Chronogical Classics 736)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1927 – 1928 (Chronogical Classics 752)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1928 – 1929 (Chronogical Classics 771)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1929 – 1930 (Chronogical Classics 810)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1930 – 1931 (Chronogical Classics 832)
The Chronogical Classics: Clarence Williams 1937 – 1941 (Chronogical Classics 953)

Frog Series, necessary issues:
„Whoop It Up“ – Clarence Williams, The Columbia Recordings, Volume 2 (Frog DGF 17)
„Shake ‚Em Up“ – Clarence Williams 1927–1929, The Vocalion, Brunswick, Victor, Paramount & Grey Gull Recordings (Frog DGF 37)
Clarence Williams‘ QRS Recordings, Volume 1 (Frog DGF 48)
Clarence Williams‘ QRS Recordings, Volume 2 (Frog DGF 49)
„Thriller Blues“ – Clarence Williams 1930–1941 (Frog DGF 57)
Washboard Bands 1926-1929: „Gimme Blues“ (Frog DGF 75)
Rare & Hot Black Bands 1923-1930: Stop & Listen! (Frog DGF 79)

Collector’s Classics Series, necessary issue:
The Clarence Williams Collection Vol. 1, 1927-28 (Collector’s Classics COCD-19)
The Clarence Williams Collection, Volume 3, 1929-1930 (Collector’s Classics COCD-29) (just two additional alternate takes, but hey)

Timeless Series
Clarence Williams And His Orchestra ‎– Vol. 1, 1933-1934 (Timeless CBC 1-056)
Clarence Williams And His Orchestra ‎– Vol. 2 1933-1937 (Timeless CBC 1-057)

AND:
Get On Board, Li’l Chillun (1937, Circle CCD-4)

LP-Abbreviations I couldn’t identify:
JU 49 (4 tracks from 1947)
Ed ZM-473202 (LP) (1 alternate take „Moanin‘ Low“ from 1929)

Epilogue
If you got all the stuff, these nice collections collecting Williams as leader/sideman in one place are now superfluous to you. All their stuff is on Chronogical Classics 679, 695 and 718, which you need anyway to fill other gaps:
„Dreaming the Hours Away“ – Clarence Williams, The Columbia Recordings (Frog DGF 14)
Clarence Williams – „Senegalese Stomp“  (Frog DGF 81)
The 1923-1931 Recordings – The Complete Sidney Bechet & Louis Armstrong Sessions (EPM 982112) (only covers 1923–1926)

Clarence Williams’ complete recordings


Mary Stafford

Lived ca. 1895–ca. 1938, recorded 1921–1926.

Stafford recorded 14 sides, all of which are here (plus some other obscure singers from the era):

Female Blues Singers Volume 13: R/S (1921–1931) (DOCD-5517)

You can also get them here:

Ain’t Gonna Settle Down: The Pioneering Blues of Mary Stafford and Edith Wilson.
This double-CD also features all of →Edith Wilson’s works, but I would not recommend it – Wilson’s work has been issued on three Document-CDs which give you a lot more additional material (for example all sides of → Lena Wilson and → John Dunn’s orchestra) – see „Edith Wilson“ for that.

Mary Stafford’s complete recordings


Alberta Hunter

Lived 1895–1984, recorded 1921–1946, 1961, 1977–1983.

This Document series collects her early work:
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1921-1923) (DOCD-5422)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1923-24) (DOCD-5423)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1924-27) (DOCD-5424)
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4 (1927-46) (DOCD-5425)
Alberta Hunter, Volume 5: The Alternate Takes (1921-1924) (DOCD-1006, this is a separately issued disc by document containing alternate takes)

You will find three more songs on the Document clean-up compilations Too Late, Too Late Blues, Vol. 7 (DOCD-5525) and Female Blues: Remaining Titles 1922-1927 (JPCD-1526-2).
There are three more songs from that period that never made it on any LP/CD: the single Midnight Blues / I Got a Mind to Ramble (Regal 3252) and the B-side of Wasn’t It Nice / I Didn’t Come to Steal Nobody’s Man (Okeh 8393). Thanks to fixbutte for his input.

This seems to be a straight cabaret gig she did in 1934 (not included in the above series):
The Legendary Alberta Hunter: The London Sessions – 1934 (DRG CDSL 5195)

These contain some 1961 recordings she made during her musical „retirement“:
Songs We Taught Your Mother (OBC CD-520-2, with LUCILLE HEGAMIN and VICTORIA SPIVEY)
Chicago: The Living Legends (Riverside RLP 9418)

And these are her comeback albums:
Remember My Name (1978, Columbia JS 35553)
Amtrak Blues (1980, Columbia 36430)
Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery (2001, rec. 1977, Varèse Sarabande 302 066 247 2)
The Glory of Alberta Hunter (1982, Columbia FC 37691)
Look for the Silver Lining (1983, Columbia PC 38970)

And, unless I’ve missed some guest appearances and such, these are
Alberta Hunter’s complete recordings


Edith Wilson

Lived 1896–1980, recorded 1921–1976(?)

Johnny Dunn & Edith Wilson: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 1 1921 – 1922 (Document JPCD-1522-2, see JOHNNY DUNN)
Johnny Dunn & Edith Wilson: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 2 1922 – 1928 (Document JPCD-1523-2, see JOHNNY DUNN)
Edith & Lena Wilson Complete Recorded Works, Volume 2 1924–1931 (Document DOCD-5451, see LENA WILSON)

Edith Wilson in Paris – The 1974 Show (Wolverine 7)

He May Be Your Man… But He Comes to See Me Sometime! (Delmark DS-637, 1976 revival album)

You can get only her early SOLO work of the first three Document CDs mentioned here on Ain’t Gonna Settle Down: The Pioneering Blues of Mary Stafford and Edith Wilson (Archeophone ARCH 6006), but you’ll miss out on all the other stuff that’s on the Document CDs

And there is some work as a guest vocalist, but otherwise
Edith Wilson’s complete recordings


Johnny Dunn

Lived 1897–1937, recorded 1921–1928.

This guy is a vaudeville blues and hot jazz performer, I put him on here because he did record with some female vaudeville blues performers, like Edith Wilson or Mamie Smith. All of his work is already covered in the entry above for Edith Wilson, it’s just here for reference.

Johnny Dunn & Edith Wilson: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 1 1921 – 1922 (Document JPCD-1522-2, with Edith Wilson)
Johnny Dunn & Edith Wilson: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume 2 1922 – 1928 ( (Document JPCD-1523-2, with Edith Wilson)

These also collect a large part of EDITH WILSON’s solo output, so see under her name for further reference.

Johnny Dunn’s complete recordings


Daisy Martin

Lived unknown–ca. 1925, recorded 1921–1923

Daisy Martin & Ozie McPherson: Complete Recorded Works (1921-1926) in Chronological Order (DOCD-5522)
Too Late, Too Late Vol. 13 (1921-1940) – More Newly Discovered Titles, Supplements & Alternative Takes (DOCD-5660)

Should be
Daisy Martin’s complete recordings


Sara Martin

Lived 1884–1955, recorded 1922–1929

In Chronological Order, vol. 1 (1922-1923) (DOCD-5395)
In Chronological Order, Volume 2 (1923-1924) (DOCD-5396)
In Chronological Order, Volume 3 (1924-1925) (DOCD-5397)
In Chronological Order, Volume 4 (1925-1928) (DOCD-5398)
Vocal Blues & Jazz Vol 2 1921 – 1938, Alternative takes & remaining titles (DOCD-1012, 2 tracks)

appears on Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Vol. 1: 1923-1927 (DOCD 5112) by Sylvester Weaver and Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order: Vol. 1, 1924-1927 (DOCD-5279) by Bobby Leecan & Robert Cooksey.

Sara Martin’s complete recordings