Ma Rainey – Biography
Born in 1886, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey began her career touring the American South in a traveling minstrel show. She “discovered” blues music in 1902 (perhaps it was the famous “St. Louis Blues” song?), yet Rainey also took influence from folk, vaudeville and Dixieland jazz when it came to shaping her unique sound. Because of her lifestyle, she took influence from a wide swath of genres from all over the nation.
Along with Mamie Smith and Bessie Smith, Rainey was one of the most popular blues performers of the 1920s. Unlike those two pioneers, however, Rainey has the distinction of being the original, which is why she was dubbed the “Mother of the Blues.” Keep reading below for Ma Rainey music reviews and accolades.