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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Elzadie Robinson

Elzadie Wallace, b. April 24, 1897 in Logansport, DeSoto Parish, LA, d. January 17, 1975 in Flint, MI, classic female blues singer and songwriter. She recorded 34 songs between 1926 and 1929. Unusually for the time, Robinson composed or co-composed most of her work. Details of her life outside of the recording studio are sketchy. AllMusic noted that "Robinson was a second-level blues singer whose voice seemed to get stronger with time".

Music researchers Bob Eagle and Eric S. LeBlanc suggest that she was born Elzadie Wallace in Logansport, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, United States, in 1897, although 1900 is also possible. She relocated to Chicago, Illinois, to make her recordings, and remained in the city for some while thereafter. Her recordings spanned the years from 1926 until 1929. Robinson's piano accompanist varied over that period, but these included Bob Call, and her most regular accompanist William Ezell. Robinson chiefly recorded for Paramount Records, but also cut several sides for Broadway Records using the alias of Bernice Drake. On two of her recordings, the pianist Bob Call or guitarist Johnny St. Cyr replaced Ezell, plus on two occasions in 1926, B.T. Wingfield or Shirley Clay played the cornet, with either Tiny Parham or Richard M. Jones on piano. In 1928, she was backed by the clarinetist Johnny Dodds, guitarist Blind Blake and either pianist Jimmy Blythe or Jimmy Bertrand on xylophone. To add to the variation, two of her sides (Galveston Blues" and "2:16 Blues") were released under the name of Blanche Johnson, another pseudonym. Little is known of her life after her recording career ended. She is thought to have married Perry Henderson in Flint, Michigan, in 1928, and to have died there in 1975. In 1994, Document Records issued two anthologies incorporating all of her known recorded work.


by Joslyn Layne
1920s blues vocalist Elzadie Robinson hailed from Shreveport, Louisiana, but remained in Chicago, after going there to record. Her recordings span 1926-29, and during that time she worked with several pianists including Bob Call, and her regular accompanist and fellow Shreveport native, Will Ezell. Elzadie Robinson chiefly recorded for the Paramount label, but also cut several sides for Broadway under the alias Bernice Drake.