I recently had the opportunity to attend one of Teeny Tucker’s “Women In The Blues” presentations and it was quite informative and entertaining. I had never heard of Alberta Hunter and Teeny showed a video of the rediscovered, 82 year old blues singer. She was spunky, slyly humorous, winked at the audience, and sang about how her castle’s always rockin’. Even at 82, you believed it was true. Then, over this past weekend I was listening to B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius/XM and who comes on but Alberta Hunter with another bawdy tune – “You Can’t Tell The Difference After Dark.” Always being on the lookout for Blues filth, I made a mental note. Fast forward to Hump Day. This is a great opportunity to introduce you to Alberta Hunter, if like me, you never heard of her. I also included a Teeny Tucker song at the end, however, it is not bawdy. I just wanted you to hear her too if you have not.
On the subject of Women Of The Blues, many people don’t realize Blues was very much a woman’s domain in the early days. Researchers looking for info on Charley Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, and many other prominent males, have often found that the women were remembered by more people and in greater detail. Women were also recorded earlier. In fact, Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues” is widely regarded as the first blues recording and was made on August 10, 1920. So how does this relate to Hump Day? You may have noticed most of the risque tunes are sung by women. It’s not that the women were more sexually charged than men, although they may have been (wink wink nudge nudge), but the women were making more records in general. Maybe the men were just tired from shaking ashes, greasing griddles, chopping meat, and trimming the lawn, if you know what I mean…
Alberta Hunter You Can’t Tell The Difference After Dark
Alberta Hunter My Handy Man Live – 1981
Alberta Hunter Two-Fisted Double-Jointed Rough And Ready Man
And here’s a sample of Teeny Tucker, taken from her performance at Sun Studios for their Sessions series.
Teeny Tucker Keep the Blues Alive