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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Rosa Henderson

Rosa Deschamps, b. November 24, 1896 in Henderson, KY, d. April 6, 1968 in New York, NY. Henderson was a person of many aliases; her most well-known stage name was the one she took from her husband and vaudeville partner Douglas ‘Slim’ Henderson, but others were more arbitrarily chosen. She had records issued under the titles Flora Dale, Rosa Green Mae/Mamie Harris, Sara Johnsson, Sally Ritz, Josephine Thomas, Gladys White and Bessie Williams. She was accompanied by such bands as The Virginians, Fletcher Henderson's Jazz Five, Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, Fletcher Henderson's Club Alabam Orchestra, the Choo Choo Jazzers, the Kansas City Five, the Three Jolly Miners, the Kansas City Four, the Three Hot Eskimos, and the Four Black Diamonds. She sang the chorus on Fletcher Henderson's May 28, 1924, Vocalion recording of "Do That Thing", probably the earliest example of a female singing with a big band. Her large record output and continuing success on the stage indicate the popularity of her big voice and engaging persona. Her blues was largely divorced from any country influence but sometimes showed considerable awareness of contemporary musical trends. Her career appears to have ended in the early 30s.