March 6 – From Bessie to Badu (707)

bessie

 

badu

[audio http://personal.stthomas.edu/drgjelten/shows/GRR707.mp3]

Bessie Smith sang

I’ve got what it takes
But it breaks my heart to give it away
She said I’ve got what it takes
But it breaks my heart to give it away
It’s in demand
Folks cryin’ for it every day
I’ve been saving it up for a long long time
To give it away would be more than a crime


and Robert Johnson wrote

When a woman gets in trouble, everybody throws her down
Lookin’ for her good friend, none can’t be found
You better come on in my kitchen, baby, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

and Maya Angelou wrote

I say,
It’s the fire in  my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally,
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I’ll be honest, when I started thinking of this week’s show, I’d forgotten that March is Women’s History Month.  I was actually inspired by a connection from our last show, in which I realized that there was a strong line of influence between some of the artists I played.  Laura Nyro was inspired by Nina Simone and Nyro, in turn, inspired many musicians.  And Simone was influenced by the huge artists that came before her: Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and others.  So I started thinking “Can we draw a line from Bessie Smith to the contemporary singers of today?”  And I decided that we could.

Now, I could have spent weeks preparing a scholarly musical lesson on women in popular music of the twentieth century.  I’m sorry, but I have neither the time nor the expertise.  So, here’s what we’re going to do.  I’ve picked songs from women artists starting with Bessie Smith and moving chronologically through the century to Erykah Badu, and I think that you can argue that each successive artist was influenced by the previous one(s).  We’ll hear from Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, Ruth Brown, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and move into Nyro, Mitchell, Joplin, Raitt, and eventually Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and wind up with Mary J Blige and we’ll close with Erykah Badu.

I’d be starting arguments if I said I was including the most important women singers/songwriters of the twentieth century here.  Don’t want to do that. This is subjective.  But there is something for everyone on this show, and I do think this is at least a good faith effort to connect the dots between Bessie and Badu.

I hope you like it.  Let me know what you think, as always.

Today on Great River Radio, coming to you from the University of St. Thomas’ KUST.

The details:

Great River Radio – Wednesdays 4:15-5:45 p.m.
Catch the live stream:http://www.stthomas.edu/ustclubs/kust/live/liveStream.html
Web/listen later: 
https://greatriverradio.wordpress.com
Facebook: 
http://www.facebook.com/GreatRiverRadio

iChat/AIM: kustradio

Playlist
Bessie Smith-Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)
Billie Holiday-Lover Come Back To Me
Mahalia Jackson-Didn’t It Rain
Ruth Brown-Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean
Etta James-Lover Man
Aretha Franklin-A Natural Woman (You Make Me Feel…)
Nina Simone-I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free
Laura Nyro-Stoney End
Janis Joplin-Try (Just A Little Harder)
Bonnie Raitt-Women Be Wise
Karen Dalton-God Bless The Child
Joni Mitchell-Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody
Rickie Lee Jones-Last Chance Texaco
Lauryn Hill-Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
Amy Winehouse-You Know I’m No Good
Cassandra Wilson-Come on In My Kitchen
Black Dub (Trixie Whitley)-I Believe In You
Mary J. Blige-Real Love
Erykah Badu-On and On

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Great River Radio - Wednesdays 4:15-5:45 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s