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Born into poverty in Chattanooga, TN, Bessie Smith began singing for money on street corners and eventually rose to become the largest-selling recording artist of her day.
So mesmerizing was her vocal style - reinforced by her underrated acting and comedic skills - that near-riots frequently erupted when she appeared.
In Britain Columbia (1923-31 Parlophone (1928-31) used laminated pressings until the merger with HMV into EMI in 1931.
Thereafter all EMI records were produced on stock shellac.
But in the context of soundie content of the time, one of the most popular '' of soundies content was fake hillbilly music by the likes of the Korn Kobblers and scores of others.
So rather than thinking 'lets have some lazy rural darkies with watermelons' I'm sure the point was to have black entertainers horn in on the generally popular honky-hillbillie imagery in many a soundie.
This luxury allowed her to circumvent some of the dispiriting effects of the racism found in both northern and southern states as she traveled with her own tent show or with the Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA) shows, commanding a weekly salary that peaked at ,000. This is a rare original 10"/78 RPM test pressing of the famous "Mumbles Song" by the Deep River Boys on RCA Records -- serial # D7-VA-2057-1A.
Twice she was instrumental in helping save Columbia Records from bankruptcy. This recording was found in a storage facility not far from the original recording studio in Camden, NJ.
More items from the Collection are exhibited behind the walls.
Could this have been the first rap song ever recorded?
are those produced from a shellac and filler mix (the fillers were put in to both increase the resistance to wear and to keep the price down - shellac was and is expensive! Because of the quantity of filler used, stock shellac surfaces tend to be noisy and prone to grittiness, e.g. Most records pressed in the US, Europe and Britain used a low quality filler core but then had a high quality playing surface bonded to it.
At the Black History Month event (pictured above) in the Washington, DC region, many participants stayed afterwards to review documents and artifacts from The Freeman Institute A photo of the huge area in the main hall near the United Nations visitor's entrance at the United Nation's "Transatlantic Slave Trade" exhibit in NYC (March - May, 2011).
Freeman is the keynote speaker at many Black History presentations and cross-cultural competency training events around the world.
She was a large, pretty woman and she dominated the stage. S.] South as I did, you would recognize a similarity between what she was doing and what those preachers and evangelists from there did, and how they moved people.