Cover image for Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Smith, Bessie, 1894-1937.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia/Legacy, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 audio disc : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.

Issued in conjunction with the PBS documentary Martin Scorsese presents the blues.

Program notes by Martin Scorsese and Tom Piazza in booklet (15 p. : ill.).
A good man is hard to find -- I ain't goin' to play no second fiddle -- Me and my gin -- Muddy water (a Mississippi moan) -- St. Louis blues -- 'Tain't nobody's bizness if I do -- Careless love -- The yellow dog blues -- Need a little sugar in my bowl -- Down hearted blues -- Nobody knows you when you're down and out -- On revival day (a rhythmic spiritual) -- Send me to the 'lectric chair -- Gimme a pigfoot and a bottle of beer -- Back water blues.
Added Uniform Title:
Martin Scorsese presents The blues (Television program)
Format :
Music CD


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
XX(1274332.2) Compact Disc Open Shelf
R&B .S643 B Compact Disc Central Library

On Order



When filmmaker Ken Burns' multi-part documentary Jazz ran on PBS in 2001, Sony and Universal teamed up on a series of compilation albums of artists featured in the show, and sales were brisk. In 2003, film director Martin Scorsese served as executive producer of a series of films under the umbrella heading The Blues for PBS, and Sony and Universal launched a similar project with similar commercial hopes. Bessie Smith is an obvious choice for an inclusion in the series, and there's nothing wrong with the 15-track distillation of her record catalog released under the title Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues. If a blues neophyte, catching Smith on TV, goes out and buys this midline-priced compilation, that listener will hear some of Smith's best performances. But Smith was already well-represented in the record racks before this release. The Collection, released by Columbia/Legacy more than a decade earlier, was a 16-track best-of, and it was still in print at the same $11.98 list price on the day that Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues was released. The two-disc The Essential Bessie Smith from 1997, while considerably more expensive, was also in print and highly recommended. (This is not to mention the numerous European imports containing the same material, in inferior packaging and sound quality, but at even lower prices). So, if Columbia/Legacy sells a few more Smith records through this campaign, more power to it, but the disc upon release was actually redundant in terms of the artist's in-print discography. ~ William Ruhlmann