Although Sara Martin’s recorded performances can vary in quality she deserves her place in this exalted company thanks to killer sides like her 1928 classic Death Sting Me Blues backed by King Oliver’s Orchestra. This is deep funereal blues with references to cocaine and whiskey. Don’t press play if you’re having a bad day.
Known as ‘The Famous Moanin' Mama’ Sara would also perform under the names Margaret Johnson and Sally Roberts. Like many of her peers she recorded prolifically in the 20s - with the likes of Fats Waller and Eva Taylor’s husband Clarence Williams - only to retire from music shortly afterwards as the classic female blues era ended. She went on to run a nursing home.
Listen: Sara Martin with King Oliver's Orchestra - Death Sting Me Blues (1928)