Martha Copeland

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1927)

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During a five-year stretch beginning in 1923, blues woman Martha Copeland recorded about three dozen titles for the OKeh, Victor, and Columbia labels. Virtually all of these were reissued by Document during the 1990s. Vol. 1 of her complete works contains 23 tunes dating from September 1923 to August 1927. Because the second volume was filled out with recordings by Irene Scruggs, the first installment stands as the definitive Copeland collection. Her accompanists during this period included pianists Eddie Heywood, Sr., Cliff Jackson, Phil Worde, Louis Hooper, and Porter Grainger, in addition to cornetists Bubber Miley and Louis Metcalf, violinist Bert Howell, and banjoist Buddy Christian. On "Hard Headed Mama" and "When the Wind Make Connection with Your Dry Goods" she is joined by comedic vocalist Sidney Easton. When Copeland switched from OKeh to Columbia in September 1926, she was persuaded to cover Victoria Spivey's very first recorded song, "Black Snake Blues," which Spivey had waxed four months earlier for OKeh. Copeland recorded it again in February 1927 as "The Black Snake Moan," whereupon Blind Lemon Jefferson cut his own cover using Copeland's title almost exactly one month later. For those who really love blues from this time period, the link between these three amazing musicians may serve as an inspiration to obtain the complete works of all three artists as reissued by Document.

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