Mamie Smith

Mamie Smith (née Robinson) was born May 26, 1883, probably in Cincinnati, Ohio, although no records of her birth exist.When she was 10 years old, she found work touring with a white act called the Four Dancing Mitchells. As a teenager, she danced in Salem Tutt Whitney’s Smart Set.In 1913, she left the Tutt Brothers to sing in clubs in Harlem and married a waiter named William “Smitty” Smith.

On August 10, 1920, in New York, Smith recorded a set of songs all written by seasoned African-American songwriter Perry Bradford including “Crazy Blues” and “It’s Right Here For You (If You Don’t Get It, ‘Tain’t No Fault of Mine)”, on Okeh Records. It was the first recording of vocal blues by an African American artist,[5] and the record became an explosive best seller, selling a million copies in less than a year. To the surprise of record companies, large numbers of the record were purchased by African-Americans, and there was a sharp increase in the popularity of race records.

Although other African-Americans had been recorded earlier, such as George W. Johnson in the 1890s, they were all black artists, who had a substantial following with European-American audiences. The success of Smith’s record prompted record companies to seek to record other female blues singers and started the era of what is now known as classic female blues. It also opened up the record industry to recordings by and for African Americans in other genres.

Mamie Smith continued to make a series of popular recordings for Okeh throughout the 1920s. She also made some records for Victor. She toured the United States and Europe with her band “Mamie Smith & Her Jazz Hounds” as part of “Mamie Smith’s Struttin’ Along Review”.She was billed as “The Queen of the Blues”. This billing of Mamie Smith was soon one-upped by Bessie Smith, who called herself “The Empress of the Blues.” — wikipedia excerpts


Crazy Blues



Wang Wang Blues (m. Gus Mueller, Buster Johnson & Henry Busse, w. Leo Wood) — Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds – recorded 5 September 1921


A Little Kind Treatment (Is Exactly What I Need) (Howard Rogers, Maceo Pinkard) – backed by Joseph Samuel’s Jazz Band, recorded 30 August 1921, according to which reports that


Let’s Agree to Disagree (Mamie Smith, Chris Smith, Jimmy Durante) — Mamie Smith and her Jazz Hounds – recorded 12 October 1921



Goin’ Crazy with the Blues (J. C. Johnson, Andy Razaf) — recorded 26 August 1926, NY



My Sportin’ Man

Youtube provider  says:

According to user martirossian, it was recorded on March 20th, 1929, in New York by Okeh records (Okeh Mx # 401761-A-B). It seems to have been unreleased until the mid 1990s.



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy Griffin
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 16:16:24

    Have OKeh record of THAT THING CALLED LOVE (Perry Bradford) 4113A & B side. Mamie Smith (stamped S-7275-E). Would like value if any. Reply: (1-27-2012)



    • doc
      Jan 27, 2012 @ 16:38:54

      Nancy, I’m not a record collector. In a Google search I discovered that someone recently offered a copy for sale on eBay. Only one bid on the item is recorded, for $10.



  2. Trackback: May 26, 1891 – Global Women's History

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