Crazy Blues: The Best of Mamie Smith
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2004, Volume 11, #9
Written by John Metzger
When Mamie Smith released Crazy Blues in 1920, the music business was turned upside down. Within six months, the single sold over a million copies, helping her to eliminate the race barrier that prevented African-American artists from performing in many venues, let alone from becoming stars. Crazy Blues: The Best of Mamie Smith features that legendary song as well as 24 other compositions recorded between 1920 and 1931, all of which effortlessly straddle a vaudevillian line between cabaret jazz and roadhouse blues. Her accompanists typically featured a variety of horns and woodwinds, and with a swirl of Dixieland flourishes, they perfectly framed her coronet-like vocals. Indeed, the set strikes a delicate balance between fervent swing and graceful elegance, though itís Smithís powerfully emotive voice that makes Crazy Blues: The Best of Mamie Smith a thrilling discovery for enthusiasts of old-time music.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box