Wednesday, 1 April 2015
Alberta Hunter, who was born 1st April 1895, in Memphis, Tennessee, was one of the greats of American Jazz and Blues, with a career that spanned no less than seven decades.
Having begun performing at sixteen, she quickly established a huge reputation in both USA and Europe, where she worked with many of the musical giants of the era before quitting the music scene in the late 1950s to pursue a vocation in nursing.
Rediscovered twenty years later in 1977, she was persuaded to return to the stage and recording studio and produced some of the finest performances of her career.
Her final album, Amtrak Blues, is a classic and features the old vaudeville number made famous by Bessie Smith, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.
This song, which reflects the fleeting nature of material wealth and friendship, is unbelievably poignant when sung by the eighty-two year old with a lifetime’s experience behind her.
I’ve listened to numerous versions of this song over the years but none can compare to Alberta Hunter’s moving rendition. Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdaNlZhmHoM