Click on the headline to link to a YouTube film clip of Alberta Hunter performing Nobody Knows You When You Are Down And Out.
Alberta Hunter, Greatest Hits, 1978
As I noted in a recent review of Memphis Minnie one of the interesting facts about the development of the blues is that in the early days the recorded music and the bulk of the live performances were done by women. That time, the early 1920’s to the 1930’s, was the classic age of women blues performers. Of course, when one thinks about that period the name that comes up is the legendary Bessie Smith. Alberta Hunter came into prominence at the tail end of that period. Although there were periods of quiescence Ms. Hunter had a long career as a classic blues torch singer.
This compilation produced by the legendary John Hammond and, therefore, technically good has a nice run of songs that made Ms. Hunter’s mark. Her phrasing on Always is interesting. Her heartfelt sorrow in A Good Man Is Hard To Find comes through. Sweet Georgia Brown is just so fine. And the plaintive My Handy Man Ain’t Handy No More says it all. If you like torch singers this is for you.