Women Who Sing the Blues

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photoThey sing from a place few can see: poverty, despair, and loneliness. Many were abandoned, abused, and literally had to sing for their supper. They endured the slurs of racism and sexism, drugs, broken hearts, and shattered dreams. In spite of it all, or perhaps because of it, they found their voices.

From Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith to Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin, and Janis Joplin, they are the women who broke the rules, creating their own legacy of how to live, love, and sing truth to power through the blues. The men's side of the tradition is well known, but the blues-women's story, from the earliest days of the music to its present day sounds, is finally being told.

Tune in to hear the musical tale of blues and the women who have sung it through the decades.


Buzzy Jackson, historian and author of "A Bad Woman Feeling Good: Blues and the Women Who Sing Them"

Lisa Thorson, jazz and blues vocalist, professor at The Berklee College of Music

Patti Smith, singer, songwriter, performer. Her latest album is "Trampin' ."

This program aired on February 25, 2005.


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