Album of the Day
Sings Bessie Smith
Though one of the all-time great female blues singers, Bessie Smith had long vanished from the charts when LaVern Baker championed her music with a tribute album in 1958. Such hits as “Jim Dandy” had ensured Baker a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but SINGS BESSIE SMITH fits her like a glove. The Atlantic collection features a dozen songs popularized by the Empress of the Blues (“Gimme A Pigfoot,” “Empty Bed Blues,” “There'll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonite” among them), though LaVern gives each her own charismatic vocal stamp, With hot jazz-influenced accompaniment by a band including trumpeter Buck Clayton, SINGS BESSIE SMITH is both a superb introduction to a blues legend and a brilliant calling card for LaVern Baker, who was born on this day in 1929.