Ma Rainey Similar Artists

Bessie Smith - 100% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues Jazz
Decades Active: 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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15 April 1894, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, d. 26 September 1937, Clarksdale, Mississippi, USA. In her childhood, Smith sang on street corners before joining a touring black minstrel show as a dancer. Also in the show was Ma Rainey, and before long the young newcomer was also singing the blues. The older woman encouraged Smith, despite the fact that even at this early stage Read more

Alberta Hunter - 71% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues Blues Jazz
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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1 April 1895, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 17 October 1984, New York City, New York, USA. Growing up in Chicago, Hunter began her remarkable career singing at Dago Frank’s, one of the city’s least salubrious whorehouses. There she sang for the girls, the pimps and the customers, earning both their admiration and good money from tips. Later, she moved on and marginal Read more

Victoria Spivey - 65% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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15 October 1906, Houston, Texas, USA, d. 3 October 1976, New York City, New York, USA. Spivey was recording at the age of 19, and enjoyed early hits with ‘Black Snake Blues’, ‘Dope Head Blues’ and ‘T.B. Blues’, all sung in her unmistakable nasal, acidic tones. She worked as a songwriter for a St. Louis based publishing company in the late 20s, a Read more

Ethel Waters - 62% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues Jazz Vocals
Decades Active: 1950s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Ethel Howard, 31 October 1896, Chester, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 1 September 1977, Chatsworth, California, USA. One of the most influential of popular singers, Waters’ early career found her working in vaudeville. As a consequence, her repertoire was more widely based and popularly angled than those of many of her contemporaries. It is reputed that she was the first singer Read more

Memphis Minnie - 57% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Lizzie Douglas, 3 June 1897, Algiers, Louisiana, USA, d. 6 August 1973, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Raised in Walls, Mississippi, Memphis Minnie learned banjo and guitar as a child, and ran away from home at the age of 13 to play music in Memphis; she worked for a time with Ringling Brothers Circus. When in Mississippi, she played guitar with Willie Brown, and in the 20s made a Read more

Blind Lemon Jefferson - 51% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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July 1897, Wortham (Couchman), Texas, USA, d. December 1929, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Jefferson was one of the earliest and most influential rural blues singers to record. He was one of seven children born to Alex Jefferson and Classie Banks (or Bates) and was either blind or partially blind from early childhood. As his handicap precluded his employment as a farm-hand he turn Read more

Henry Thomas - 50% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1980s 1990s 2000s
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1874, Big Sandy, Texas, USA, d. c.1930. One of the oldest black folk artists to record during the 20s, Thomas’ highly individual repertoire of rags, breakdowns, church songs and ballads is of considerable importance to musicologists seeking to document the milieu from which the blues developed. Born to ex-slaves on a sharecropping farm in east Texas, Thomas was more tha Read more

Blind Blake - 40% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
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Kokomo Arnold - 40% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1980s 1990s 2000s
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15 February 1901, Lovejoy’s Station, Georgia, USA. d. 8 November 1968, Chicago, Illinois, USA. ‘Kokomo’ Arnold was a left-handed slide blues guitarist who learned the basics of his style from his cousin, James Wigges. After working in steel mills in Illinois and Pennsylvania he became a dedicated fisherman and moonshiner, who looked upon his musical success as Read more

Bukka White - 38% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues Blues
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1990s 2000s
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Booker T. Washington White, 12 November 1906, Houston, Mississippi, USA, d. 26 February 1977, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. White learned guitar and piano in his teens, and hoboed from 1921, playing blues with artists such as George ‘Bullet’ Williams. In the mid-30s White was a boxer and baseball pitcher. He recorded for Victor Records in 1930, a largely unissued sessio Read more

Charley Patton - 36% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues Music Videos & Concerts
Decades Active: 1980s 1990s 2000s
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1 May 1891, Bolton, Mississippi, USA, d. 28 April 1934, Indianola, Mississippi, USA. Charley Patton was small, but in all other ways larger than life; his death from a chronic heart condition at the age of 43 brought to an end his relentless pursuit of the good things then available to a black man in Mississippi - liquor, women, food (courtesy of women), music, and the avoid Read more

Big Joe Williams - 34% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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Joe Lee Williams, 16 October 1903, Crawford, Mississippi, USA, d. 17 December 1982, Macon, Mississippi, USA. Big Joe Williams was one of the most important blues singers to have recorded and also one whose life conforms almost exactly to the stereotyped pattern of how a ‘country’ blues singer should live. He was of partial Red Indian stock, his father being ‘R Read more

Mississippi John Hurt - 34% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1960s 1980s 1990s 2000s
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John Smith Hurt, 3 July 1893, Teoc, Mississippi, USA, d. 2 November 1966, Grenada, Mississippi, USA. One of the major ‘rediscoveries’ during the 60s folk blues revival, Mississippi John Hurt began playing at informal gatherings and parties at the turn of the century, when guitars were still relatively uncommon. Although he worked within the idiom, Hurt did not rega Read more

Big Mama Thornton - 31% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1990s 2000s
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11 December 1926, Montgomery, Alabama, USA, d. 25 July 1984, Los Angeles, California, USA. Willie Mae Thornton was the daughter of a minister and learned drums and harmonica as a child. By the early 40s she was singing and dancing in Sammy Green’s Hot Harlem Revue throughout the southern states. Basing herself in Texas, she made her first records as Big Mama Thornton fo Read more

Tampa Red - 29% match to Ma Rainey

Genres: Blues
Decades Active: 1960s 1970s 1990s 2000s
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Hudson Woodbridge aka Whittaker, 8 January 1904, Smithville, Georgia, USA, d. 19 March 1981, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Tampa Red was raised in Tampa, Florida, by his grandmother Whittaker’s family, hence his nickname. By the time of his 1928 recording debut for Vocalion Records, he had developed the clear, precise bottleneck blues guitar style that earned him his billing, Read more


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