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Nellie Florence

Nellie Florence is an obscure name from the '20s classic blues recording scene; in that she has plenty of company, but what has made her stand out at least slightly from the crowd is the accompanist on the two songs she managed to record in 1929, none other than Barbecue Bob. Formerly known as Bobby Hicks, that artist also regularly performed with his brother Charles Hicks. The two pickers support Florence on a pair of songs entitled "Jacksonville Blues" and "Midnight Weeping Blues." The recording session took place in Atlanta, with Bob and Charles Hicks wandering over from nearby Columbia, South Carolina. No other recordings have ever been located involving Florence.

She has been referred to as Barbecue Bob's "gal pal" in critical comments on these sides, pressed quite regularly on both collections of Barbecue Bob material and compilations devoted to female blues singers and other genre sub-categories. The catchy phrase does not indicate that any kind of romantic relationship existed between Florence and either of the Hicks -- such a notion would involve much more knowledge of this singer's life than anyone seems to have been able to unearth. As for her singing, it is generally described as "lively," sometimes even "aggressive."
by Eugene Chadbourne