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Lillian Glinn

About Lillian Glinn

Remembered for her popular recordings of “Atlanta Blues” and “Black Man Blues,” this 20th century singer and songwriter received national attention for her contralto vocals and her sensuous blues ballads.

Early life

She first exercised her vocal talent by performing spirituals in church and later launched a professional career as a vaudeville entertainer.


Her recordings were compiled and released posthumously in the early 1990s.

Family of Lillian Glinn

A native of Hillsboro, Texas, she recorded music in Dallas, Atlanta, and New Orleans, before eventually settling in California with her husband, Reverend O.P. Smith.

Close associates of Lillian Glinn

She was born in the same year as fellow blues singer Skip James.

Bessie Jackson

About Bessie Jackson

One of the first blues singers to ever be recorded and who sang “Seaboard Blues,” “Troubled Mind,” and “Superstitious Blues.”

Early life

Coming out of the Alabama blues scene, she made her first recording in the 1920s and then teamed up with pianist Walter Roland for what would be nearly one hundred recordings.


She raised many eyebrows with songs like “B.D. Woman s Blues,” the acronym standing for “bull dykes,” which she explained in her opening lines: “Comin a time/women ain t gonna need no men.”

Family of Bessie Jackson

She was born in Amory, Mississippi and, after spanorcing her first husband, she married another man who was twenty-two years younger than her.

Close associates of Bessie Jackson

B.B. King covered her song “Black Angel Blues,” one of the less risqué of her recordings.

Bessie Smith

About Bessie Smith

Empress of the Blues who sang in the 1920s and 1930s, releasing award-winning songs like “Empty Bed Blues” and “St. Louis Blues.”

Early life

She worked as a street performer with her brother on the streets of Chattanooga. Ma Rainey mentored her and helped her develop her stage presence.


She had a short-lived career on Broadway, but in that time she sang with Louis Armstrong.

Family of Bessie Smith

She was born to parents Laura and William Smith who was a laborer and part-time Baptist preacher.

Close associates of Bessie Smith

The great Benny Goodman made a small contribution to her 1933 recordings with the record label Okeh.

Alberta Hunter

About Alberta Hunter

Chicago blues singer and nurse who, after taking a brief retirement, performed deep into her eighties. She recorded numerous songs in her early years, and in the 1940s, she toured with the USO.

Early life

Arriving in Chicago at the age of fifteen, she initially found little work outside of brothels and disreputable joints until the upscale club Dago Frank s hired her as a soloist.


She left singing to start a career as a nurse, which she kept well into her second singing career.

Family of Alberta Hunter

She was born in Memphis, Tennessee, running away from home at age twelve to travel.

Close associates of Alberta Hunter

Though mostly known for her music, she did have a walk-on role in Robert Altman s Remember My Name and she also sang on the soundtrack.

Alison Moyet

About Alison Moyet

English blues and new wave singer who has sold over two million records in the U.K. She released the single “When I Was Your Girl.”

Early life

She began her career singing with local English punk bands, including The Vandals.


She reached the #1 spot on the UK charts with her 1984 debut album Alf.

Family of Alison Moyet

She had one daughter with teacher David Ballard.

Close associates of Alison Moyet

She performed alongside David Bowie at the Live Aid concert in 1985.

Taj Mahal

About Taj Mahal

Self-taught Grammy Award-winning blues musician and songwriter who mastered the guitar, banjo, piano, and harmonica, to name a few.

Early life

He began working on a Massachusetts dairy farm when he was 16.


He was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, but began using Taj Mahal in the late fifties/early sixties, after he had dreams about social tolerance, Gandhi, and India.

Family of Taj Mahal

He was born into a musical family where his father was a piano player and a West Indian jazz arranger and his mother sang in the local gospel choir.

Close associates of Taj Mahal

He worked with many prominent musicians, including recording with Eric Clapton and Etta James.