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 Franks, one of the citys 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 marginally upwards to a job singing in Hugh Hoskins saloon. She continued to move through Chicagos saloons and bars, gradually developing a following. She entered the big time with an engagement at the Dreamland Cafe, where she sang with King Olivers band. Among the songs she sang was Down Hearted Blues, which she composed in collaboration with Lovie Austin and which was recorded in 1923 by Bessie Smith. Early in her career she sometimes performed and occasionally recorded under different names, including May Alix and Josephine Beatty. During the 20s and early 30s Hunter...
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