Independent Women's Blues, Vol. 1, Mean Mothers by Various Artists

Label: Rosetta Records.
Release Date: 1980.
Releases: 1981, 1990.
Recording Date: 1926 - 1949.

Styles: Classic Female Blues, Early Jazz, Swing.

Independent Women's Blues is an excellent, four-disc series of early blues and jazz recordings by women -- all come highly recommended for not only the abundance of rarities but also for the quality of the music. Vol. 1, subtitled Mean Mothers, includes selections from Billie Holiday, Ida Cox, and Bessie Brown.
by Chris Woodstra

One of the best (and maybe the only) reissue label for classic female blues of the '20s-'50s, Rosetta Reitz's Rosetta Records has over the years released a wealth of compilations and single-artist records covering the work of both the famous (Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington) and the relatively obscure (Arizona Dranes, Lil Green). This early compilation features some of the best yet least known of the lady blues singers on tracks cut between 1926-1949. Save for fine cuts by Billie Holiday and Lil Armstrong, the rest here by the likes of Bertha Idaho, Martha Copeland, Harlem Hannah, and Mary Dixon probably have not surfaced since the original release dates. The mix, though, is very fresh all the same, with a bevy of powerful blues singing, several accounts of strong women and the no-good men that cross their paths, and some top-notch jazz accompaniment by Louis Armstrong, Chu Berry, James P. Johnson, and others. A fine spin on the decks for the historically minded blues lover.
Review by Stephen Cook

Compilation Producer, Liner Notes – Rosetta Reitz.
Engineer (Technical Supervisor) – Jerry Valburn.
Typography (Typesetter) – Madeline Sloan.

Personnel: 1) Clarinet – Bob Fuller, Piano – Porter Grainger, Vocals – Martha Copeland, Written By – Johnson; 2) Banjo – Buddy Christian, Clarinet – Ben Whittet, Cornet – Tom Morris, Piano – Clarence Williams, Trombone – Charlie Irvis, Vocals – Bessie Brown; 3) Accompanied By – Maggie Jones And Her Jazz Band, Cornet – Louis Metcalf, Piano – Cliff Jackson, Trombone – Jake Frazier, Vocals – Maggie Jones, Written By – Smoley & Seaman; 4) Fiddle (One-string Fiddle) – Tosh Hammond, Piano – Eddie Haywood; Vocals – Butterbeans, Susie Edwards, Written By – Hammet; 5) Piano – Bernice Edwards, Vocals – Bernice Edwards; 6) Guitar – Eddie Lang, Vocals, Written-By – Gladys Bentley; 7) Cornet – Ed Allen, Piano – J.C. Johnson, Vocals – Mary Dixon, Written By – Rose; 8) Cornet – Ed Allen, Piano – Clarence Williams, Vocals – Bertha Idaho, Written By – Delaney; 9) Piano – James P. Johnson; Vocals – Rosa Henderson; Written By – Pickerson, Coleman & Blythe; 10) Accompanied By – Harlem Hannah And Her Hot Boys, Conductor (Orchestra Director) – Leonard Joy, Vocals – Harlem Hannah, Written-By – Andy Razaf; 11) Accompanied By – Lil Armstrong And Her Swing Band, Bass – John Frazier, Clarinet – Buster Bailey, Guitar – Huey Long, Piano – Teddy Cole, Tenor Saxophone – Chu Berry, Trumpet – Joe Thomas, Vocals – Lil Armstrong, Written-By – Buck Washington, Lil Armstrong; 12) Bass – Wellman Braud, Guitar – Danny Barker, Piano – Sammy Price, Trumpet – Henry Red Allen, Vocals – Blue Lou Barker, Written-By – Barker; 13) Accompanied By – The Harlem Blues Serenaders, Bass – Wellman Braud, Clarinet – Buster Bailey, Drums – O'Neil Spencer, Guitar – Ulysses Livingston, Piano – Lil Armstrong, Trumpet – Charlie Shavers, Vocals – Rosetta Howard, Written By – Oden; 14) Accompanied By – Ida Cox And Her All Star Band, Bass – Artie Bernstein, Clarinet – Edmond Hall, Drums – Lionel Hampton, Guitar – Charlie Christian, Piano – James P. Johnson, Trombone – J.C. Higginbotham, Trumpet – Hot Lips Page, Vocals, Written-By – Ida Cox; 15) Bass – Ransom Knowling, Guitar – Big Bill Broonzy, Piano – Simeon Henry, Vocals – Lil Green, Written-By – Joe McCoy; 16) Accompanied By – Buster Hardings Orchestra, Tenor Saxophone – Lester Young, Trumpet – Buck Clayton, Vocals – Billie Holiday, Written-By – Billy Moore, Jr..

Credits: Lil Armstrong - composer, performer, primary artist; Blue Lu Barker - performer, primary artist; Gladys Bentley - composer, performer, primary artist; Bessie Brown - performer, primary artist; Martha Copeland - performer, primary artist; Ida Cox - composer, performer, primary artist; Tom Delaney - composer; Mary Dixon - performer, primary artist; Bernice Edwards - composer, performer, primary artist; Leonard Feather - composer; Porter Grainger - composer; Lillian "Lil" Green - performer, primary artist; Harlem Hannah - performer, primary artist; Susie Hawthorne - performer, primary artist; Rosa Henderson - performer, primary artist; Billie Holiday - performer, primary artist, vocals; Rosetta Howard - performer, primary artist; Bertha Idaho - performer, primary artist; Maggie Jones - performer, primary artist; Kansas Joe McCoy - composer; Billy Moore Jr. - composer.

Tracks: 1) Good Time Mama - Martha Copeland; 2) Ain't Much Good in the Best of Men Nowdays - Bessie Brown; 3) You Ain't Gonna Feed in My Pasture Now - Maggie Jones; 4) Oh Yeah! - Susie Hawthorne; 5) Long Tall Mama - Bernice Edwards; 6) How Much Can I Stand? - Gladys Bentley; 7) You Can't Sleep in My Bed - Mary Dixon; 8) Move It on Out of Here - Bertha Idaho; 9) Can't Be Bothered With No Sheik - Rosa Henderson; 10) Keep Your Nose out of Mama's Business - Harlem Hannah; 11) Or Leave Me Alone - Lil Armstrong; 12) I Don't Dig You Jack - Blue Lu Barker; 13) Come Easy, Go Easy - Rosetta Howard; 14) One Hour Mama - Ida Cox; 15) Why Don't You Do Right? - Lillian "Lil" Green; 16) Baby Get Lost - Billie Holiday.