Blues Empress

NPR profiles Bessie Smith:

No blues singer can escape the influence of Bessie Smith, “The Empress of the Blues.” Through hugely popular recordings and a busy nationwide touring schedule, she gave the blues a raw, regal poignancy — and marketability. Her feverish growls and impassioned delivery informed nearly every facet of African American music, from Mahalia Jackson to Mary J. Blige.

Check out the program here.