04 October 2006

Sing it, Bessie

Just superb... this blues blog has linked to the only film appearance of blues legend Bessie Smith, filmed in 1929. Think of it as a b/w music video and you're on the right track.

In 1929, she appeared in a Broadway flop called Pansy, a musical in which, the top white critics agreed, she was the only asset. That same year, she made her only film appearance, starring in a two-reeler based on W. C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues." In the film, which was shot in Astoria, NY, she sings the title song accompanied by members of Fletcher Henderson's orchestra, the Hall Johnson Choir, pianist James P. Johnson, and a string section — a musical environment radically different from any found on her recordings. - - Wikipedia

Great singing, snappy dancing by the cad in the middle section, and some excellent plate-spinning action too...

Honey, Where You Been So Long? » St. Louis Blues

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