Female artists owned the blues in the 1920s. That’s fact. Thanks to Mamie Smith, female blues artists were in hot demand and one of the first to make her mark was Ma Rainey, aka the ‘Mother of the Blues.’
Born Gertrude Pridgett in Columbus, Georgia in 1886, Ma Rainey began performing in her early teens and would eventually form the brilliantly monikered Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues with her husband William Rainey in 1914.
In 1923, Ma recorded eight songs for Paramount Records in Chicago and a blues legend was born. These tunes included Bo-Weevil Blues and Bad Luck Blues. The following year she cut the classic See See Rider with a young Louis Armstrong on trumpe… or cornet. He played both, y'see…
Listen: Ma Rainey with Louis Armstrong - See See Rider Blues (1924)