Bessie Smith & Louis Armstrong: St. Louis Blues


St. Louis Blues


Bessie Smith (with Louis Armstrong)


Jazz: The Definitive Performances (Columbia CK-44441)

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Bessie Smith (vocals), Louis Armstrong (cornet),

Fred Longshaw (organ)


Composed by W.C. Handy


Recorded: New York, January 14, 1925


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

We apologize for joking in our review of Dizzy Gillespie's 1959 cover that W.C. Handy wrote "St. Louis Blues" amidst the British bombardment of Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, and that the song is mostly heard before ballgames. It's not really that old. Still, "St. Louis Blues" ought to be the U.S. national anthem. Certainly this historic convocation of the Empress of the Blues and the Emperor of Jazz supersedes any Act of Congress to the contrary. Backed at stately tempo by a spectral, tent-meeting pump organ, Bessie & Louis stream as gallantly as Old Glory herself.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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