Bessie Jones

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For the United States Navy ship, see USS Bessie Jones (SP-1476). For the singer 1887-1974, see Bessie Jones (Welsh singer).
Bessie Jones with two great-grandchildren, at home on St. Simon's Island, May 1973

Bessie Jones (February 8, 1902 - July 17, 1984), was an African American gospel singer from Smithville, Georgia, United States.[1] She learned her songs from her grandfather, a former slave born in Africa. She was a founding member of the Georgia Sea Island Singers.[2] Alan Lomax first encountered Bessie Jones on a southern trip in 1959. Jones made her way up to New York City two years later and asked Lomax to record both her music and biography.

Jones told an interviewer in Alachua, Florida in the early 1980s, that she was born in Lacrosse, Florida, (Alachua County), when that area was a tung oil production area. Jones also said she had not been to a doctor since 1925 and that she wore many copper bracelets which protected her from disease.[citation needed]

Jones' 1960 song "Sometimes" was heavily sampled in American electronica musician Moby's 1998 single "Honey".[3][4]

Partial discography[edit]

  • Southern Journey Recordings, V. 12, Georgia Sea Islands: Songs and Spirituals (Rounder 1712)
  • Southern Journey Recordings, V. 13, Earliest Times: Georgia Sea Island: Songs for Everyday Living (Rounder 1713).
  • Put Your Hand On Your Hip, and Let Your Backbone Slip: Songs and Games from the Georgia Sea Islands (Rounder 11587) 2001
  • Step It Down (Rounder) 1979
  • So Glad I'm Here (Rounder 2015) 1974


  1. ^ "Association for Cultural Equity". Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  2. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships, Bessie Jones". National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 2014-08-29. 
  3. ^ Chadbourne, Eugene. "Bessie Jones - Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-29. 
  4. ^ "Honey". Classic House Music Tracks - 80s and 90s House Music. 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2014-08-29. 

External links[edit]