Josie Miles

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Josie Miles (c. 1900 – c. 1953–65) was an American vaudeville and blues singer. She was one of the classic female blues singers popular in the 1920s.

She was born in Summerville, South Carolina, United States.[1] By the early 1920s she was working in New York City, where she appeared in Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle's musical comedy Shuffle Along. In 1922 she made her first recordings, for the Black Swan Company, and later recorded for the Gennett, Ajax, Edison, and Banner Records labels. In 1923 she toured the African-American theatre circuit with the Black Swan Troubadours, and performed in New York City in James P. Johnson's revue Runnin' Wild at the Colonial Theatre. In that same year she also performed on WDT Radio in New York City.[1]

According to blues writer Steve Tracy, Josie Miles was characterized by "a light but forceful delivery that was not low-down but was nevertheless convincing."[2] Her last recordings date from 1925. After the early 1930s, she devoted herself to church activities in Kansas City, Missouri, where she had settled. She is thought to have died in an automobile accident in the 1950s or 1960s.[1]

Josie Miles has often been credited with the six sides recorded in 1928 by the fiery Missionary Josephine Miles (also issued under the name Evangelist Mary Flowers), although blues historians Paul Oliver[3] and Chris Smith[4] believe that the aural evidence does not support this identification.


  1. ^ a b c Harris, Sheldon (1994). Blues Who's Who (Revised Ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80155-8. p. 374
  2. ^ Tracy, S. (1996). Josie Miles: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order. Volume 1 (1922–1924) (CD booklet) Document Records DODC-5466
  3. ^ Oliver, P. (1984). Songsters and saints: vocal traditions on race records. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press. OCLC 10323548. p. 186
  4. ^ Smith, C. (1995). Gospel Classics: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order. Volume 3 (1924–1942). (CD booklet) Document Records DODC-5350

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