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Empress Of The Blues Volume 2: 1926-1933 Box set

3 customer reviews

Price: £18.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Empress Of The Blues Volume 2: 1926-1933 + Queen Of The Blues Volume 1
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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 April 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: JSP
  • ASIN: B0016GLZEM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,517 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. One And Two Blues
2. Young Woman's Blues
3. Preachin' the Blues
4. Back Water Blues
5. After You've Gone
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Standin' in the Rain
2. It Won't Be You
3. Spider Man Blues
4. Empty Bed Blues - Part 1
5. Empty Bed Blues - Part 2
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Wasted Life Blues
2. Dirty No Gooder Blues
3. Blue Spirit Blues
4. Worn Out Papa Blues
5. You Don't Understand
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Lady Luck Blues - Test
2. Yodelin' Blues - Test
3. Midnight Blues - Test
4. St. Louis Gal - Test
5. Frosty Mornin - Test
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Gibbons TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Oct. 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This second volume completes JSP's reissue of Bessie Smith's complete recorded output and covers recording sessions from 26th October 1926 until 24th November 1933. The soundtrack of the 'St Louis Blues' film is included in its correct chronological position and not as an appendix. The final disc comprises all the alternate takes and tests that have survived and brings to a conclusion this fine project.

Once again, the remastering is superb and shows just what can be done with commercial pressings. The sound of the Columbia issues is in comparison greatly inferior and sounds very thin and tinny.

Bessie was just as fine a singer during the second half of her career and this issue is an essential purchase for all lovers of the classic blues. She was just incomparable and this box is as well.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
present for birthday, had a listen first!!!!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A.G. Buining on 24 July 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Were very glad to get this VOl. 2 as we had picked up Vol. 1 in a shop somewhere. Good quality and great service.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An Essential Artist Presented in Wonderfully Restored Sound 30 May 2008
By Gregory M. Wasson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
JSP records has long been known for its meticulously re-mastered reissues of vintage blues, jazz, country, and popular recordings. These are the "78s" made before the use of electronic recording tape in the late 40s ushered in the age of "High Fidelity". Until his death in 2004, JSP regularly used the services of John R.T. Davies to restore the sound of its collections of reissued music. Davies was regarded by many as the best sound restoration engineer of his generation.

"Bessie Smith -- Empress of the Blues Volume 2 -- 1926 -- 1933," presented in a very affordable 4 -- disc box set, continues to uphold the standard set by John Davies. The sound quality of these CDs easily surpasses the Columbia/Legacy sets that were first issued in the early 1990s. Although Chris Albertson's excellent notes to that earlier set remain unequaled, for pure sound you cannot do better than the JSP Bessie Smith boxes. I have both the Columbia and the JSP sets, and listening to these new JSP boxes is like hearing Bessie Smith for the first time.

As most readers will know, Bessie Smith was unquestionably the greatest blues singer of her day, and is arguably the greatest of all-time. When artists as diverse as Billie holiday, Mahalia Jackson, and Janis Joplin (who before her own death helped pay for a headstone for Bessie's grave) cite Smith as inspiring their own remarkable careers, you know that this is a voice that deserves to be listened to closely and often. Those who know her work can cite dozens of classic recordings made in the 1920s and early 30s, including "St. Louis Blues," "Empty Bed Blues," "After You've Gone," "Send Me to the Electric Chair," and "Nobody Knows You When You're down and Out."

Bessie Smith's voice has always commanded attention. It is deep, strong, and above all heartfelt. But the JSP boxes for the first time clearly reveal the nuance, shading, and superb phrasing that were often obscured in previous reissues. Perhaps just as important, these new sets bring to life the contributions of the many famous jazz and blues musicians who accompanied Bessie throughout her career. For the first time we hear the full range of sound produced by such outstanding artists as pianist James P. Johnson, trumpeter Louis Armstrong, clarinetist Buster Bailey, and trombonist Charlie Green, to name but a few. It is not the sound of digital or analog tape recordings, but it is probably the best that we will have for many years. That in itself is a notable contribution to the history of recorded American music.

The price is unbeatable. For under $30 you can have the best available set of the 90 recordings Smith made between 1926 and her last side in 1933. She was still in fine voice at the end of her recording career, even if the Depression and the fading interest in blues had reduced the sales of her records dramatically. In fact, she was ready to return to recording and was negotiating an appearance in the first Carnegie Hall "Spirituals to Swing" concert organized by John Hammond when she was killed in an automobile accident in 1937.

Jazz and blues enthusiasts, and music lovers generally, have cause for celebration with the issuance of this Volume II set by JSP. It is an essential and loving presentation of a woman who, over 60 years after her death, continues to teach us about the "soul" that is the foundation of all great music.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By far the best 9 Feb. 2009
By Doug Grandpre - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Bessie Smith was probably the best all around jazz singer of all time. Some songs have a repetitive quality but she didn't write them, and that's the worst I can say about this collection. It's hard to believe just how good the sound quality upgrading has become. I haven't listened to the pre-1926 set. 1926 is important because, in that year, "electric" recording replaced "acoustic" recording which was a great advance. But her voice is on display here. She could add just the right patina of rasp effortlessly to a voice as sweet as any. We may never know if she had any close competition. Who didn't learn from her? She influenced Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Mae West. The list goes on. We're lucky to hear this a hundred years (almost) later. The solo piano back-up is great. She doesn't need more. When Odetta did her blues album, she suffered from sounding like her back-up was the Dukes of Dixieland. None of that here. Not every track is perfect but, as a whole, you couldn't ask for more.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Even better than volume 1! 11 April 2010
By M. A. Casey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Empress of the Blues volume 2 1926-1933 is even better than the first set. The songs are more varied and interesting (though there is still a bit of repetitiveness, as can happen within the genre of blues). The material is catchier, and Bessie is in as fine voice as ever. And the sound quality is good. She recorded less frequently after 1931---her hard-living lifestyle and bitter divorce (and losing custody of her adopted child) to manager/club promoter/shady character Jack Gee really took a toll on her. This could unfortunately be why there are only three CDs of original music, CD D is just 35 minutes of alternate cuts of songs that were on the first volume box set (1923-1926). Still definitely worth the money. But it is just too bad that her dreams of a comeback and a possible foray into big band music (as planned, as this style of jazz was starting to become big news) never materialized, because she was killed in a car accident in Sept. 1937. A true loss to the world of music, to be sure, but her place in history remains. For better or worse, people like Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, and even younger artists like Ana Popovic would not exist without the influence of Bessie Smith. The Empress of the Blues will truly never die!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I bought "Young Woman's Blues" here to compare to Complete Recordings, Volume 5 4 Sept. 2011
By Brek Renzelman - Published on Amazon.com
I downloaded the MP3 of "Young Woman's Blues" only (not the whole album, just this one song) to compare to the same song on Complete Recordings, Volume 5 from the UK, the physical CD of which I also purchased here.

Another customer reviewer here has warned, apparently on reliable information, that the digital transfers used to create Empress Of The Blues Volume 2: 1926-1933 (CD A, 1926-1928) were stolen from the UK label Frog Records' set of 8 volumes (of which Complete Recordings, Volume 5 comprises one installment).

I am a classical musician, and my ears are trained to detect subtle differences from the perspective of a performer and recording artist. Even though I don't always know the technology or techniques used in editing and mixing (in the case of new recordings) or with transfers and noise reduction (with old or archival recordings), I very much appreciate the effort engineers put into their work when it is of a high quality. I can hear it.

Yes, there is a difference between Empress Of The Blues Volume 2: 1926-1933 (CD A, 1926-1928) and Complete Recordings, Volume 5, and I prefer the latter.

Both are huge improvements over those godawful Columbia transfers (Bessie Smith Collection, Columbia Jazz Masterpieces, Columbia, CD, 1989), which a friend loaned me and which got me hooked on Bessie Smith. Those recordings made her sound like she was singing through a metallic tube. Instead, the Frog Records transfers give you the sense that she is in a room with four walls, a ceiling and a floor and with the air in between all resonating. The JSP version does sound like there has been additional noise reduction, but in my opinion this is not an improvement over Frog UK.

And as an artist who has had my work sold on the open market without compensation to me by unscrupulous recording companies and others, over the years, I feel it is important that, as a consumer, I make the extra effort to reward one of the good guys. If the story can be believed, Frog UK is the way to go. So skip this one from JSP.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Beware 19 Aug. 2010
By heinzmickrad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This and volume 1 were ripped entirely off the Frog set of 8 CDs. I have been told by reliable sources (the producer of Frog) that JSP did some additional noise supression work to diguise the ripping off. The music might be in the public domain in Europe, but the transfers are not. If you think you can enjoy the CDs with this knowledge go ahead. Otherwise buy the Frogs and support the labels that actually pay for the transfer work.
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