Rainey, Ma

Rainey, Ma

biographical name

(born April 26, 1886, Columbus, Ga., U.S.—died Dec. 22, 1939, Rome, Ga.) U.S. singer. Rainey began touring Southern tent shows, levee camps, and cabarets at age 17 in a song-and-dance team with her husband, the minstrel comic William (“Pa”) Rainey. She performed through the 1920s, leading her own troupes, including at times Bessie Smith and Thomas A. Dorsey. An earthy stage presence, known for her flamboyant dress and her deep, powerful contralto voice, Rainey recorded more than 90 songs (including “See See Rider” and “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”) from 1923 to 1928 with country blues musicians and black jazz players. She retired in 1933. The first great professional blues vocalist, she earned the sobriquet “mother of the blues.”

Variants of RAINEY, MA

Rainey, Ma orig. Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett

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