Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Cakewalk To The Graveyard...

Bessie Smith - Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair
Recorded on Thursday, March 3rd, 1927 in New York City (Light cloud, quite warm for the time of year), this track is so bleak it's hilarious.
Then she tells you how she slit her man's throat and kicked him as he lay bleeding to death on the floor.
It stops being funny.
Yep, she says, I did it, fire up the chair because I'M GOOD TO GO and I don't wanna spend no 99 years in jail.


This is the woman who carried on drinking bootleg liquor after Prohibition was lifted because she preferred the taste.
Bessie Smith did not mess around.
She knew how to sing this kind of song.

You know, the only thing I can think of at the moment that possesses the same horrible clarity of purpose is "Very Friendly" by Throbbing Gristle.
In both cases the music lurches around a voice that sits right there in the centre of it all, reeling out a terrible monologue.
How does it feel to be listening in?

Visit - Bessie Smith @ Red Hot Jazz
Visit - Bessie Smith Links Page
Visit - Red Lick Records
Buy - The Essential Bessie Smith


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