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Lottie Kimbrough

Lottie Kimbrough was a Kansas City blues woman whose brief recording career spanned the years 1924 to 1929. She shared her first recording session for Paramount Records with the legendary Ma Rainey in 1924, and much of her work demonstrates close ties to the classic blues tradition for which Rainey is well known. Kimbrough emerged from the musically rich West Bottoms area of Kansas City and was a central figure in the vibrant, close-knit musical community of her city. As her recordings demonstrate, Kimbrough performed alongside a number of the area's talented personalities and sidemen, most notably the performer and promoter Winston Holmes, who managed much of Kimbrough's career.

Kimbrough was a famously large woman, nicknamed "the Kansas City Butter-ball." Throughout her career, she recorded and performed under several pseudonyms: Half of her recordings were released under her married name, Lottie Beaman, while Holmes encouraged her to use the name Lena Kimbrough on the 1926 recordings (Holmes also substituted a picture of Kimbrough's more attractive sister Estella for one of Lottie's publicity photographs). Her first Paramount recordings, made in 1924, featured the Pruitt Twins, Miles on guitar and Milas on banjo; later that year, she produced additional sides with strong backing by pianist Jimmy Blythe. Kimbrough performed the vaudeville circuit with her brother Sylvester, and he appears, along with Paul Banks' Kansas City Trio, on the 1926 recordings. Kimbrough reached her greatest level of sophistication and creativity, however, in her collaboration with Holmes, who provided yodels, bird calls, and train whistles on the 1928 masterpieces "Lost Lover Blues" and "Wayward Girl Blues," creating a unique synthesis of styles. These recordings again featured the masterful guitar of Miles Pruitt, who remained a steady partner throughout Kimbrough's career, accompanying her final recorded performances in November of 1929. Both Kimbrough and Holmes also lent their voices to Rev. B.L. Wrightman's congregation, illustrating the breadth of the recording community to which they belonged. Though her own recorded output is relatively small, Kimbrough's vocal power and the unique arrangements of several of her best pieces rank her as one of the sizable talents of the 1920s blues tradition. ~ Burgin Mathews
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Richer Tradition Country Blues & String Band Music

Disc 1

1. Guitar Blues

2. Time Ain't Gonna Make Me Stay

3. Sundown Blues

4. Salt Lake City Blues

5. Whiskey And Gin Blues

6. James Alley Blues

7. Goin' To Leave You Blues

10. Bamalong Blues

11. Man Trouble Blues

12. Blue Coat Blues

13. Frisco Whistle Blues

14. Two Ways To Texas

15. Gravel Camp Blues

16. T And T Blues

17. Death Bell Blues

18. C.C. & O. Blues

19. Middlin' Blues

20. Rolling Log Blues

21. Kyle's Worried Blues

22. Bull Frog Blues

23. Sobbin' Woman Blues

24. Miss Meal Cramp Blues

25. The Unknown Blues

Disc 2

1. Jail House Blues

2. Blues, Just Blues, That's All

3. String Band Blues

4. Black Cat Blues

5. Dirty Guitar Blues

6. Boodle-Am-Shake

7. Quill Blues

8. The Jug Band Special

9. Cold Morning Shout

10. Violin Blues

11. Easy Winner

12. G. Burns Is Gonna Rise Again

13. I Got A Gal

16. Adam And Eve

17. Runnin' Wild

18. Giving It Away

19. Jackson Stomp

20. Old Hen Cackle

21. Travelin' Railroad Man Blues

22. Old Hen Cackle

23. Ted's Stomp

24. Dusting The Frets

Disc 3

3. Mean Conductor Blues

4. Back Door Blues

5. Spanish Blues

6. Helena Blues

7. I Heard The Voice Of A Pork Chop

8. Rising River Blues

9. She Could Toodle-Oo

10. Weak Minded Woman

11. Old Rock Island Blues

12. Cairo Blues

13. I Ain't Givin' Nobody None

14. Showers Of Rain Blues

15. Framer's Blues

16. If I Call You Mama

17. Never Drive A Stranger From Your Door

18. Mississippi Swamp Moan

19. Paddlin' Madeline Blues

21. South Carolina Rag

23. Poor Jane Blues

24. Window Pane Blues

25. Hot Jelly Roll Blues

Disc 4

1. Labor Blues

2. Goin' Away Blues

3. No Baby

4. Early Mornin' Blues

5. Dreaming Blues

6. Weeping Willow Blues

7. Way Down In Arkansas

8. Wild About My Loving

9. Indian Squaw Blues

10. Florida Bound

11. God Didn't Make No Monkey Man

12. Tallahatchie River Blues

13. Diamond Ring Blues

14. Bedside Blues

15. Lonesome Midnight Dream

16. Billy Goat Blues

17. That Won't Do

18. Ghost Woman Blues

19. 'toby' Woman Blues

20. Rollin' Dough Blues

21. Starvation Farm Blues

22. Farewell To You Baby

23. Teasin' Brown Blues

24. Married Woman Blues

25. Dago Blues

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Track List: Rough Guide To Unsung Heroes Of Country Blues

1. Fishing Blues

2. Never Drive A Stranger From Your Door

3. Don't Put That Thing On Me

4. Cairo Blues

5. Keep It Clean

6. Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

7. California Desert Blues

8. Little Girl In Rome

9. Married Man Blues

10. Fare Thee Well Blues

11. Lonesome Road Blues

12. Pick Poor Robin Clean

13. My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon

14. Old Original Kokomo Blues

15. Labor Blues

16. Section Gang Blues

17. Let's Go Riding

18. Roll And Tumble Blues

19. Please Ma'am

20. Cottonfield Blues - Part 2

21. Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do - Part 2 (Take 1)

22. Rolling Log Blues

23. You Can't Keep No Brown

24. Cherry Ball

x

Track List: Suitcase Full Of Blues

1. The Gone Dead Train

2. Frisco Whistle Blues

4. Going Away Blues

5. Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

6. Florida Bound

7. Pea Vine Blues

8. Rambler Blues

9. Up The Way Bound

11. Slidin' Delta

13. M & O Blues

14. Georgia Bound

15. Number Three Blues

16. Sunshine Special

17. Illinois Blues

18. I Wonder To Myself

20. Mean Conductor Blues

21. Suitcase Full Of Blues

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