Bessie Smith

Itinerary of a Genius

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If you considered the total recorded output of Bessie Smith and tried to condense it into a single 22-track CD, you'd be hard-pressed to do a better selection job than on this premier release. The Milan and Ryko labels have collaborated, and done well, to reissue these songs which have otherwise been available in chronological extensia (check out the Classics label) from sources via the Columbia Records family vaults, and through comprehensive and expensive boxed sets. Each title speaks volumes -- "Downhearted Blues," "St. Louis Blues," "Cakewalkin' Babies from Home," "Yellow Dog Blues," "Backwater Blues," "Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair," "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," "Empty Bed Blues," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out," "On Revival Day," "I Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl," and "Gimme a Pigfoot & a Bottle of Beer," -- all definitive classics, and a good bargain to find. 'Nuff said.

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