Blues » Country Blues » Vaudeville Blues

On the African-American T.O.B.A. vaudeville circuit of the 1920s and early '30s, the headlining acts were the blues singers. Even the minstrel shows, with their emphasis on group performance, gave precedence to the blues performer -- more often than not a female firmly rooted in the then-popular classic style of shouting. But the Vaudeville Blues singers had to put on a show with their singing, and many, like the husband and wife team of Butterbeans and Susie, used the blues as a blueprint for their myriad of comedy routines. Others, like Coot Grant and Kid Sox Wilson, were prolific songwriters, using their special material in their stage act while farming out some of the best of it to other singers who worked the same circuit, like Bessie Smith.

Vaudeville Blues Artists Highlights

Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Mamie Smith
Mamie Smith
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington

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Vaudeville Blues Album Highlights

The Essential Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
The Essential Bessie Smith
The Collection
Bessie Smith
The Collection
The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2 (1924-1925)
Bessie Smith
The Complete Recordings, ...
Empress of the Blues: Collectors Edition
Bessie Smith
Empress of the Blues: ...
Empress of the Blues, Vol, 2: 1926-1933
Bessie Smith
Empress of the Blues, Vol, ...
The Complete Columbia Recordings
Bessie Smith
The Complete Columbia ...

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Vaudeville Blues Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out Bessie Smith
St. Louis Blues Bessie Smith
A Good Man Is Hard to Find Bessie Smith
Beale Street Mama
Bessie Smith
Mean Old Bed Bug Blues Bessie Smith
Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl Bessie Smith
Empty Bed Blues, Pt. 1 Bessie Smith

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Other Styles in Country Blues