Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Bessie Smith

Music History Monday Replay: “The Empress” – Bessie Smith

I am writing this post from my hotel room in what is presently (but sadly, not for long) warm and sunny Vienna.  As I mentioned last week, I will be here for eight days acting as “color commentator” for a musical tour of the city sponsored by Wondrium (a.k.a. The Teaching Company/The Great Courses).  I also indicated, one, that I would keep you up-to-date on the trip with near-daily posts, and two, that Music History Monday and Dr. Bob Prescribes will be rather truncated while I am here. We mark the birth on April 15, 1894 – 130 years ago today – of the American contralto and blues singers Bessie Smith.  Appropriately nicknamed “The Empress,” Bessie Smith remains one of the most significant and influential musicians ever born in the United States.  Well, it just so happens that we celebrated Maestra Smith birthday in my Music History Monday post of April 15, 2019, and I will thus be excused for directing your attention to that post through the button below:

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Music History Monday: The Empress

Today we celebrate the birth – on April 15, 1894, 125 years ago today, in Chattanooga, Tennessee – of the American contralto Bessie Smith. We Reflect on “GOAT” When I was growing up, the word “goat” had two distinct meanings. First, there was the animal: a quadruped mammal, a member of the family Bovidae and subfamily Caprinae. There are presently over 300 distinct breeds of goat, both wild and domesticated. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in 2011 there were more than 924 million goats alive across the planet. (One can only wonder why there hasn’t been a more recent census.) When I was growing up, the second meaning of the word “goat” was a loser: a derisive term for an athlete who, as a result of some monumentally boneheaded mistake, was responsible for his or her team’s loss. For example: Mike Torres, the Boston Red Sox pitcher who gave up a three-run homer to light-hitting, New York Yankee second baseman Bucky Dent in a one-game playoff following the 1978 regular season; or Bill Buckner, the Boston Red Sox first baseman who booted an easy grounder to lose game six of the 1986 World Series against the […]

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