the saying goes, 'you gotta pay the dues if you wanna sing the blues.'
In no other way than living the kind of violent, promiscuous, hard-drinking
street life she sang about, could Bessie Smith have inspired in her audiences
the powerful empathy that ultimately won her the title, 'Empress of the
from "Reflections Of 1920's and 30's Street Life In The Music of Bessie Smith" by Ross Whitney
W.C. Handy's suggestion, Bessie Smith was picked to be the star of the
film [St. Louis Blues]. Bessie had scored a huge hit in 1925 with her recording
'St. Louis Blues', which had featured Louis Armstrong on cornet. The film
was shot in June of 1929 . . . . It was Bessie Smith's only film appearence."
from the introduction to "St. Louis Blues" at Red Hot Jazz Archive
|An online review of the play "Bessie Smith: Empress of the Blues," entitled "Blues you can use: Liz Mikel steals the show as the legendary singer Bessie Smith" by Tom Sime|
|An online essay on Smith's Lesbianism "1925-27: Lesbianism in the life of Bessie Smith," extracted from Chris Albertson's Bessie|