Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fifty States: Nebraska

Victoria Spivey: Nebraska Blues


Victoria Spivey was a Blues Women that was part of the 60s revival of the genre - from The Red Hot Jazz Archive, one of the very best Jazz & Blues sites on the Net:

Victoria Spivey got her start in music at age twelve when she began playing piano in a movie theater in Houston, Texas. From there she expanded her musical career to playing in saloons and whorehouses. She was was a big fan of the Blues singer Ida Cox and modeled her own career after Cox's. In 1926 at the the age of twenty she traveled to St. Louis where Okeh records was on a field trip looking for new acts to record. She recorded her own songs Black Snake Blues and Dirty Woman Blues which became a best selling record. Over the the next two years she was quite a hot item and recorded records almost once a month, often with the accompaniment of great Jazz musicians like Lonnie Johnson, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Clarence Williams, Luis Russell and many others, including her sister Addie "Sweet Pease" Spivey. In 1929 she played a small role in King Vidor's early film musical "Hallelujah". As the Blues craze and the record industry in general hit the skids in the early 1930s, Spivey somehow managed to keep recording and performing unlike almost all of the other Classic Blues singers. She expanded into playing in vaudeville musical revues, including the acclaimed Hellzapoppin' Revue in New York City and recorded and toured with Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra. Spivey was constantly working, playing countless one-night stands throughout the 1930s and 1940s, but by the l950s, Spivey had left show business, but continued singing in the church choir in her home in Brooklyn. Victoria returned to show business in 1962 when she formed her own record company, Spivey Records. Her first record on the label featured Bob Dylan as an accompanist. So, Spivey's career began again in the early 1960s; she began performing in folk and blues festivals and in nightclubs in and around New York City and continued to record for the rest of her life.

Victoria Spivey, born in October, 1906, was married four times, and in October of 1976, at the age of 69, died from an internal hemorrhage.

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