Release Date: 12/10/06
There isn't a whole lot of Bertha 'Chippie' Hill available in any audio format. In 1997 Document released 24 of her classic early recordings, and that CD still stands as the definitive monument to her artistry. Trained to perform in vaudeville while still a girl, then schooled in theatrical presentation by Ethel Waters, Ma Rainey, and King Oliver, she outgrew the vaudeville upbringing and perfected a straightforward blues delivery while making these records during the years 1925-1929. The majority of Bertha Chippie Hill's records were made for the General Phonograph Corporation and later for the Okeh Phonograph Corporation, issued on their Okeh label. Consequently, the company's A. and R. man in Chicago, Richard M. Jones, influenced the choice of material Chippie Hill was to record, the majority of the songs being written by him. Fortunately, he wrote some excellent blues and was a fine pianist too, being present on many of the tracks on this CD. Ten selections also feature the remarkable cornet playing of Louis Armstrong. Anyone seeking insights about blues, jazz, and human nature needs to savour Armstrong's interactions with Bertha 'Chippie' Hill. She is also backed by Richard M. Jones' Jazz Wizards (with clarinettist Artie Starks doing his best to complement her passionate delivery); guitarist Lonnie Johnson, who recorded during this period with artists as diverse as Duke Ellington, Texas Alexander, and Eddie Lang; guitarist Scrapper Blackwell and pianist Leroy Carr; pianist and songwriter Georgia Tom (Thomas A. Dorsey); and guitarist Tampa Red (Hudson Whittaker) and bassist Bill Johnson of New Orleans. The gravitational pull of the blues is nicely counterweighted by 'Non-Skid Tread,' an amusing study in hokum for kazoo and continuo. Bertha 'Chippie' Hill had a nice comeback during the 1940s, during which she received international recognition. Even as her later recordings are powerful and well worth exploring, the recordings she made in the 1920s define her as an individual and, to some extent, the entire human race as a species.
|Label: Document Records|
|Run Time: 70 mins|
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