The Dope on Bessie Smith


Recommended Reading:

Albertson, Chris.  Bessie.  London, Barrie and Jenkins, 1972.  This is the best all-around biography on Smith.  Though it is out of print, you can usually find a copy for sale at

Brooks, Edward.  The Bessie Smith Companion.  New York: De Capo Press, 1982.  This is an exhaustive discography.  Also out of print, so try

Feinstein, Elaine.  Bessie Smith.  New York: Viking Press, 1985.  Although this isn't as exhaustive as Albertson's book, it is an entertaining biography.  Check for it at

Recommended Listening:

I have included a variety of  Bessie Smith recordings that are just the berries!

Recommended Viewing:

Lamp the first two for Smith's 1929 short film, St. Louis Blues. Scorsese's is a copacetic documentary collection on the blues genre.