Georgia White

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 4 (1939-41)

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The fourth and final volume of Georgia White's complete recorded works as compiled and reissued by Document during the 1990s is packed with 24 titles recorded for the Decca label in Chicago and New York between May 1939 and March 1941. During this period she collaborated with pianist Blind John Davis, bassist John Lindsay, and guitarist Teddy Bunn, often singing at a relaxed and perhaps more traditionally staid pace than was customary for this often spunky vocalist, although "Hydrant Love" and "Do It Again" do have a bit of a kick to them. Wesley Wilson's "Take Me for a Buggy Ride" was solidly identified with Bessie Smith when White recorded it just a couple of years after the death of the Empress, and "'Tain't Nobody's Fault But Yours" is one of several Porter Grainger compositions linking White with her predecessors in the grand tradition of female blues. On "Panama Limited" she sounds more than a little like Victoria Spivey. The bands backing her on the second half of this collection included trumpeter Jonah Jones, clarinetist Fess Williams, pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, bassist Milt Hinton, and drummer Walter Martin -- real swing musicians, whose participation successfully undermines the artificially imposed boundaries between blues and jazz. This remarkable vocalist deserves much more recognition than has ever come her way, and one can only hope that careful remastering, judicious marketing, and growing interest among youthful listeners will serve her memory with the respect that she deserves.

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