Clara Smith

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Clara Smith
Born c. 1894
Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States
Died February 2, 1935(1935-02-02) (aged 40–41)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres Classic female blues
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1910s–1935
Labels Columbia

Clara Smith (c. 1894 – February 2, 1935)[1] was an American classic female blues singer. She was billed as the "Queen of the Moaners",[1] even though she had a lighter and sweeter voice than many of her contemporaries. She was not related to the singers Bessie Smith and Mamie Smith.

Career[edit]

Smith was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. In 1910 she began working on African-American theater circuits and in tent shows and vaudeville. By the late 1918[2] she was appearing as a headliner at the Lyric Theater in New Orleans, Louisiana and on the Theater Owners Bookers Association circuit.

In 1923 she settled in New York, appearing at cabarets and speakeasies there; that same year she made the first of her commercially successful series of gramophone recordings for Columbia Records,[3] for which she recorded 122 songs, working with many other musicians such as Fletcher Henderson and Louis Armstrong,[4] and Don Redman.[5] She recorded two duets with Bessie Smith, "My Man Blues" and "Far Away Blues" (Columbia 14098-D), on September 1, 1925. She recorded Tom Delaney's "Troublesome Blues" in 1927.[6]

In 1933 she moved to Detroit, Michigan, and worked at theaters in revues there until her hospitalization in early 1935 for heart disease, of which she died.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Clara Smith: Artist Biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  2. ^ Kernfield, Barry (1988). New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Vol. 3. Macmillan. p. 608. 
  3. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 12. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  4. ^ Abrams, Steven; Settlemier, Tyrone. The Online Discographical Project: Columbia A3500–A4001 (1921–1923) Numerical Listing. Retrieved January 14, 2011.
  5. ^ Southern, Eileen (1982). Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians. Greenwood Press. 
  6. ^ Chadbourne, Eugene. "Tom Delaney: Artist Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2014-08-04. 
  7. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club: The 1950s and Earlier". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 

External links[edit]