Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1895 Alberta Hunter enjoyed an amazing 40 year career as an entertainer, then gave it up to become a nurse in the mid-50s.
In 1977, at the age of 82, she staged a successful comeback and proved that she’d lost none of her fire or her infectious sense of humour. Her hilarious performance of Two-Fisted, Double-Jointed, Rough and Ready Man (audio below) is priceless.
Early in her career Alberta scored big when she co-wrote Downhearted Blues, the million selling record that launched Bessie Smith’s career. The song would later be covered by blues and jazz royalty like Son House, Cab Minnie The Moocher’ Calloway and Ella Fitzgerald.
While a hard copy is tough to find, clips of the 2001 documentary of Alberta’s life My Castle’s Rockin‘ are available to eyeball on YouTube - click here for nine priceless minutes. We dare you not to fall in love with this amazing character.
Listen: Alberta Hunter - Two-Fisted, Double-Jointed, Rough and Ready Man (live at The Smithsonian in 1981)