It is ironic that so many classic female blues singers recorded a ton of material between 1921 and 1924 and, when the recording techniques had advanced greatly and the musicianship of their accompaniments had vastly improved, the vocalists had much less opportunity to be documented. Sara Martin recorded three CDs worth of material during 1922-1925, and then just 23 tunes during the three years covered by this CD. Martin was at her best during the latter period, but she only had three recording sessions in 1926, one in 1927, and three in 1928 before her recording career came to an end. She was accompanied by many impressive players during this era including several groups led by Clarence Williams (which had such musicians as King Oliver, Charlie Irvis, Bubber Miley, and Benny Waters), Richard M. Jones' Jazz Wizards, the piano of Eddie Heywood on two duets, and three numbers with Harry's Happy Four, a hot quartet consisting of Harry Cooper and Louis Metcalf on cornets, pianist Earres Prince, and banjoist Bernard Addison. The diverse material is highlighted by "What More Can a Monkey Woman Do," a hot version of "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby," a rare vocal version of "The Last Time" (recorded two years later by Louis Armstrong's Savoy Ballroom Five), "What's the Matter Now," "Late Last Night," "Cushion Foot Stomp," and "Death Sting Me Blues." Vintage blues completists will want all four of the Sara Martin CDs, but others who just want a sampling of her best work are advised to get Vol. 4 and Vol. 3 first.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow