Bea Booze

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Bea Booze
Wee Bea Booze.jpg
Background information
Birth name Beatrice Booze
Born (1912-03-23)March 23, 1912
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died November 11, 1986(1986-11-11) (aged 74)
Scottsville, New York, United States
Genres R&B, jazz
Occupation(s) Singer, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1930s–1950s
Labels Decca
Associated acts Sammy Price
Andy Kirk

Bea Booze (March 23, 1912 – November 11, 1986), often credited as Wee Bea Booze, was an American R&B and jazz singer most popular in the 1940s.


She was born Beatrice Booze[1] in Baltimore, the daughter of Phillip and Lydia Booze.[2] She made her name as a singer in Harlem, New York. She was signed by Decca Records to cover the songs and emulate the style of Lil Green[3] and, under the guidance of Sammy Price, first recorded in 1942. Her version of "See See Rider Blues", first recorded by Ma Rainey, reached number 1 on the US Billboard R&B chart, after which she was billed as the "See See Rider Blues Girl". In addition to singing, she played guitar in performance and on many of her recordings.

Later in the 1940s, Booze recorded as a jazz vocalist with the Andy Kirk band,[3] which featured the trumpeter Fats Navarro, and also with a jazz quartet that included the saxophonist George Kelly and the organist Larry Johnson.

She retired from the music industry in the early 1950s, and settled in Baltimore and later in Scottsville, New York, although she recorded with Sammy Price in 1962.[3] She died in Scottsville in 1986.[1]

Confusion with Muriel Nichols[edit]

For reasons that remain undocumented, the producer J. Mayo Williams, who knew Booze from his time with Decca, released a version of "See See Rider" sung by Muriel Nichols for his Harlem label as number 1003 in 1945, credited to "Muriel (Bea Booze) Nichols". Nichols, born in Philadelphia in 1908, was a different singer, but this led to the false belief, reported in many sources, that Booze's real name was Muriel Nichols. However, Booze was listed in the 1920 US census as a seven-year-old child, born in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 23, 1912.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Paulus, George; Campbell, Robert; Pruter, Robert. Ebony, Chicago, Southern, and Harlem: The Mayo Williams Indies Archived June 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved Sept. 22, 2014
  2. ^ "1920 United States Federal Census, Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll T625_663". p. 5B. Enumeration District 296; Image 145 
  3. ^ a b c Harris, Sheldon (1994). Blues Who's Who (rev. ed.). New York: Da Capo Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-306-80155-8.

External links[edit]