Close
(0) items
You have no items in your shopping cart.
Browse
    Filters
    Preferences
    Search

    Bessie Smith

    £9.99
    'She [Bessie Smith] showed me the air and taught me how to fill it ... she's the reason I started singing, really' - Janis Joplin '[Jackie Kay] offers the most vivid evocation of Bessie Smith I have ever read' - Ian Carr, BBC Music Bessie Smith was born in Tennessee in 1894.
    ISBN: 9780571362929
    AuthorJackie Kay
    Pub Date18/02/2021
    BindingPaperback
    Pages224
    Availability: In Stock

    A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

    Bessie Smith: singer, icon, pioneer.

    Scotland's National Poet Jackie Kay brings to life the tempestuous story of the greatest blues singer who ever lived.

    'A wonderful writer on a magnificent singer.' ROBERT WYATT

    'The most vivid evocation of Bessie Smith I have ever read.' IAN CARR, BBC MUSIC

    'Biographies don't usually bring the subject to life again. This one did. I finished the book then started it again immediately.' PEGGY SEEGER

    'What a life! What gulpable storytelling! Exactly the kind of writing about music we need: personal, ardent, playfully confrontational, questioning, undogmatic. A love song to a complicated idol' KATE MOLLESON

    'Pure joy: one trailblazing woman pays tribute to another. Jackie Kay finds the music in the short, dazzling, capricious life of Bessie Smith'HELEN LEWIS

    'A passionate, personal, imaginative insight into Bessie's art.' DAILY MAIL

    ***

    BESSIE SMITH was born in Tennessee in 1894. Orphaned by the age of nine, she sang on street corners before becoming a big name in travelling shows. In 1923 she made her first recording for a new start-up called Columbia Records. It sold 780,000 copies and made her a star. Smith's life was notoriously difficult: she drank pints of 'bathtub gin', got into violent fist fights, spent huge sums of money and had passionate love affairs with men and women. She once single-handedly fought off a cohort of the Ku Klux Klan.

    As a young black girl growing up in Glasgow, Jackie Kay found in Bessie someone with whom she could identify and who she could idolise. In this remarkable book Kay mixes biography, fiction, poetry and prose to create an enthralling account of an extraordinary life.

    *
    *
    *

    A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

    Bessie Smith: singer, icon, pioneer.

    Scotland's National Poet Jackie Kay brings to life the tempestuous story of the greatest blues singer who ever lived.

    'A wonderful writer on a magnificent singer.' ROBERT WYATT

    'The most vivid evocation of Bessie Smith I have ever read.' IAN CARR, BBC MUSIC

    'Biographies don't usually bring the subject to life again. This one did. I finished the book then started it again immediately.' PEGGY SEEGER

    'What a life! What gulpable storytelling! Exactly the kind of writing about music we need: personal, ardent, playfully confrontational, questioning, undogmatic. A love song to a complicated idol' KATE MOLLESON

    'Pure joy: one trailblazing woman pays tribute to another. Jackie Kay finds the music in the short, dazzling, capricious life of Bessie Smith'HELEN LEWIS

    'A passionate, personal, imaginative insight into Bessie's art.' DAILY MAIL

    ***

    BESSIE SMITH was born in Tennessee in 1894. Orphaned by the age of nine, she sang on street corners before becoming a big name in travelling shows. In 1923 she made her first recording for a new start-up called Columbia Records. It sold 780,000 copies and made her a star. Smith's life was notoriously difficult: she drank pints of 'bathtub gin', got into violent fist fights, spent huge sums of money and had passionate love affairs with men and women. She once single-handedly fought off a cohort of the Ku Klux Klan.

    As a young black girl growing up in Glasgow, Jackie Kay found in Bessie someone with whom she could identify and who she could idolise. In this remarkable book Kay mixes biography, fiction, poetry and prose to create an enthralling account of an extraordinary life.