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The Traditional Delta and Country Blues

Mozelle Alderson

Mozelle Fagans, b. November 20, 1904 in Bedford, OH, d. February 15, 1994 in Chicago, IL, classic female blues singer, aka Possibly Kansas City Kitty, Hannah May, Thelma Holmes, Mae Belle Lee, and Jane Lucas. She recorded a small series of tracks for both Black Patti and Brunswick between 1927 and 1930. Her most regular pianist was Judson Brown. She was a one-time vocalist for the Famous Hokum Boys in 1930, and toured and recorded as a backing vocalist for other blues artists. Alderson used a number of aliases, possibly including Kansas City Kitty, Hannah May, Thelma Holmes, Mae Belle Lee, and Jane Lucas. Little is known of her life outside of her recording career.

She was born Mozelle Fagans in Bedford, Ohio, United States, probably in 1904 but possibly as early as 1900, later marrying and moving to Chicago. Alderson recorded three singles released by Black Patti Records in 1927, on which she was accompanied by the pianist Blind James Beck. The titles were "Mobile Central Blues", "Tall Man Blues", "Mozelle Blues", "State Street Special", "Sobbin' The Blues" and "Room Rent Blues". "Tight Whoopee" b/w "Tight in Chicago" was issued by Brunswick Records in 1930. Judson Brown accompanied her on her Brunswick recordings. She also recorded for the ARC and Vocalion labels. Harum Scarums, a trio comprising Big Bill Broonzy, Georgia Tom and Alderson, recorded the two-part "Alabama Scratch" in Grafton, Wisconsin, for Paramount Records (Paramount 13054) in January 1931, and it was reported that it sounded "as if it was a real party." The Famous Hokum Boys self titled compilation album, issued in 2015 on JSP Records, included the following names in the credits : Mozelle Alderson, Scrapper Blackwell, Big Bill Broonzy, Georgia Tom, Frank Brasswell, Kansas City Kitty, Hannah May, and Arthur Petties. She was widowed by 1941, and married John Slocum in Chicago in 1943. Alderson died in Chicago in 1994, aged 89. Her work has appeared on several compilation albums.


by Joslyn Layne
St. Louis blues vocalist Mozelle Alderson recorded under her own name with pianist Judson Brown. Apparently, Alderson was the real name for Jane Lucas, who sings on some Hokum Boys' 1930 recordings. Other recording names that may have possibly been the same person (although it is now impossible to be certain) are: Kansas City Kitty, Hannah May, Thelma Holmes, and Mae Belle Lee.