Daisy Martin

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Daisy Martin (fl. c.1914–c.1925) was an African American actress and blues singer in the classic female blues style.

She toured America's eastern and midwestern states in black vaudeville in the 1910s and early 1920s.[1] In 1914 she appeared in the revue My Friend From Kentucky at the National Theater in Chicago, Illinois.[2] In 1917 she performed in the musical comedy My People, which also featured Sam Gray and Julia Moody.[3] In 1920 she appeared at the Strand Theatre in Chicago in the revue Hello 1919.[1]

Martin was one of the first black women to sing blues on recordings when she recorded for the Gennett and Okeh labels in April 1921.[1] On her first sides, "Royal Garden Blues" and "Spread Yo' Stuff", she was accompanied by the Five Jazz Bell Hops, whose identities are unknown. In total she recorded 16 sides, ending with her final session in July 1923.

On January 20, 1922 she competed against Lucille Hegamin, Alice Leslie Carter and the eventual winner Trixie Smith in a blues-singing contest at the Manhattan Casino in New York City.[1] For this contest, which was a highlight of the Fifteenth Infantry's First Band Concert and Dance, Noble Sissle was master of ceremonies, and Fiorello la Guardia served as one of the judges.[4]

Blues writer Steve Tracy wrote in 1997 that "Martin is really not one of the better vaudeville blues singers, possessed as she is of a soprano voice with a very stilted vibrato effect".[1] Few of the players who accompanied her on record have been identified, but the band for one of her sessions included Gus Aiken, Jake Frazier, and Garvin Bushell.[1]

In 1997, Daisy Martin's complete recordings were reissued in CD format by Document Records on Daisy Martin & Ozie McPherson: Complete Recorded Works 1921–1926 In Chronological Order (DODC-5522).


  1. ^ a b c d e f Tracy, Steve. [CD booklet]: Daisy Martin & Ozie McPherson: Complete Recorded Works 1921–1926 In Chronological Order. Document Records: DODC-5522.
  2. ^ "'The Darktown Follies' In My Friend From Kentucky, With Music, Book, Lyrics and Staged by J. Lubrie Hill, Who Also Takes the Leading Part" [review of the musical comedy My Friend From Kentucky], The Chicago Defender (Big Weekend Edition), March 7, 1914, p. 6.
  3. ^ "Smarter Set Hits", The Chicago Defender (Big Weekend Edition), September 8, 1917, p. 4.
  4. ^ Stewart-Baxter 1970, p. 23.