Complete Recorded Works (1928-1929) by Bessie Tucker

Label: Document Records
Release Date: 1991
Releases: November 7, 1994; August 19, 2004; April 5, 2005
Recording Time: 77 minutes
Recording Date: August 29, 1928 - October 21, 1929

Styles: Acoustic Blues, Acoustic Texas Blues, Classic Female Blues, Country Blues, Pre-War Blues, Pre-War Country Blues, Regional Blues

Document's Complete Recorded Works (1928-1929) is an exhaustive overview of Bessie Tucker's known recordings, compiled from a pair of late-'20s sessions and including no less than seven alternate takes (each presented right next to the original). This reliance on exact sequencing, along with the poor fidelity and a large number of performances, are enough to make this of limited interest to casual listeners. Since this is the only Bessie Tucker collection in print, however, it's the best place to find classic recordings like "Penitentiary" and "Fryin' Pan Skillet Blues." ~ Thom Owens

Document Records:
Informative booklet notes by Roger Misiewicz.
Taken from this album's booklet notes.

Bessie Tucker first recorded in Memphis, Tennessee on August 28, 1928. From the sole surviving picture of her, she would appear to have been a young woman at the time, slim and fine featured. To all outward appearance, here is a genteel "high yellow" indeed.

However, once you hear her voice, immediately there is a marked difference from what you would have expected. A sombre, even somewhat dangerous aura comes immediately to the forefront. Moans, songs of travel, jail, fights with men, women and knowledge of the police are brought forward in a manner that could be artistry of the highest level, or otherwise mere brutal honesty - telling the stories she knew in song directly, personally, and immediately. If you listen with the latter assumptions, this initial session has a slice of life quality seldom equalled in the blues.

Bessie Tucker was never found by researchers, either. Paul Oliver came closest when he interviewed Whistlin' Alex Moore in 1960. Asking about Bessie Tucker and Ida May Mack, Oliver's response from Moore was "They're tough cookies, don't mess with them." So perhaps they were still alive in Dallas as late as 1960, but thirty years later no further information has been found. However, at long last we do have Bessie Tucker's legacy gathered together in one spot, and that is perhaps as it should be. Now she can be enjoyed and remembered at the height of her considerable talents.
Featured Artist: Bessie Tucker, vocals.
With contributions by: K.D. (Mr. 49) Johnson, piano; Jesse "Babyface" Thomas, guitar.

Credits: K.D. Johnson - guest artist, piano, vocals; Roger Misiewicz - liner notes; Johnny Parth - compilation producer; Jesse Babyface Thomas - guitar, vocals; Bessie Tucker - composer, primary artist, vocals.

Tracks: 1) Bessie`s moan; 2) The dummy; 3) Fort Worth and Denver blues (take 1); 4) Fort Worth and Denver blues (take 2); 5) Penitentiary (take 1); 6) Penitentiary (take 2); 7) Fryin` pan skillet blues (take 1); 8) Fryin` pan skillet blues (take 2); 9) My man has quit me (take 1); 10) Got cut all to pieces (take 1); 11) Got cut all to pieces (take 2); 12) Black name moan; 13) Better boot that thing (take 1); 14) Better boot that thing (take 2); 15) Katy blues (take 1); 16) Katy blues (take 2); 17) Mean old Jack Stropper blues (take 1); 18) Mean old Jack Stropper blues (take 2); 19) Old black Mary; 20) Key to the bushes blues; 21) Bogy man blues; 22) Mean old master blues; 23) Whistling woman blues; 24) T. B. Moan.