Trixie Smith (born 1895, Atlanta, Georgia; died September 21 1943, New York City, New York), was an American blues singer, recording artist, vaudeville entertainer, and actress. She made four dozen recordings.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, coming from a middle class-background, attended Selma University
in Alabama before moving to New York around 1915. She worked in minstrel shows and on the TOBA
vaudeville circuit, before making her first recordings for the Black Swan
label in 1922. Among these were "My Man Rocks Me (With One Steady Roll)" (1922), written by J. Berni Barbour, of historic interest as the first secular recording to reference the phrase "rock and roll
". Her record inspired various lyrical elaboration’s: "Rock That Thing" by Lil Johnson
, "Rock Me Mama" by Ikey Robinson
, and so on. Also in 1922, Trixie Smith won first place and a silver cup in a blues singing contest at the Inter-Manhattan Casino in New York
, sponsored by dancer Irene Castle
, with her song "Trixie's Blues," singing against Alice Carter, Daisy Martin and Lucille Hegamin
. She is most remembered for "Railroad Blues," (1925) a song that featured one of Smith's most inspired vocal performances on record, and "The World Is Jazz Crazy and So Am I" (1925). Both songs feature Louis Armstrong
on cornet. A highly polished performer, her records include several outstanding examples of the blues on which she is accompanied by artists such as James P. Johnson
, and Freddie Keppard
. She recorded with Fletcher Henderson
's Orchestra for Paramount Records
As her career as a blues singer waned, mostly she sustained herself by performing in cabaret revues, and starring in the musical revues such as "New York Revue" (1928) and "Next Door Neighbors" (1928) at the Lincoln Theatre in Harlem. She appeared in Mae West's short-lived 1931 Broadway effort "The Constant Sinner." Two years later, she was elevated to the stage of the Theatre Guild for its production of "Louisiana", She appeared in four movies, "God's Step Children" (1938), "Swing!" (1938), "Drums o' Voodoo" (1934), and "The Black King" (1932). Two of these movies were directed by the Oscar Micheaux. Her last recordings were with Sidney Bechet for Decca Records in 1938, in addition in 1939 she cut "No Good Man" with a band including Red Allen and Barney Bigard. She appeared at John H. Hammond's Spiritual to Swing concert in 1938 and recording seven titles during 1938-1939.
She died in New York City in 1943, after a brief illness.
||Trixie Smith: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1922-1924)
||Trixie Smith: Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1925-1939)