Song:Dirty T.B. Blues
Victoria Spivey was a blues pioneer similar to Bessie Smith. The big difference was that Victoria was rediscovered in the 60s and she toured the festival circuit until her 1976 death. She was born Oct. 15, 1906 in Houston. Her father was a railroad flagman and a part time musician. Victoria and her sisters performed as children with his band. He died when Victoria was seven years old. She performed in local clubs and in 1918 she was hired to accompany films at the Lincoln Theater in Dallas. She moved to St. Louis in 1926 and signed with Columbia's race label Okeh. She had success with the 1926 single Black Snake Blues. Victoria wrote many of her own songs. And like a lot of singers from that era, she wrote a lot of songs about sex and drugs like Dirty T.B. Blues. Victoria moved from Okeh to RCA in 1929. And it looks like Dirty T.B. Blues was one of her first RCA recordings. She is accompanied by pianist Luis Russell and his orchestra featuring trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen. Other musicians are J.C. Higginbotham on trombone, Charlie Holmes on soprano sax, Will Johnson on guitar and Pops Foster on bass. King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Lonnie Johnson were among those who recorded with Victoria. She got a big break when director King Vidor cast Victoria in his 1929 film Hallelujah!. This led to film and stage appearances with her dancer husband Billy Adams. So when Victoria's recording career dried up in the late 30s, she continued to perform on stage. The British label Document has released three CDs of Victoria's recordings in chronological order. Victoria retired in 1951 to play organ in her church choir. But Lonnie Johnson lured her back to performing in 1961. She started her own label in 1962 and continued to tour and record until her death on Oct. 3, 1976 at age 69. Here's a video for Dirty T.B. Blues by Victoria Spivey featuring Henry "Red" Allen on trumpet.