Blues Singing

”Not only is Smith’s voice big, it is musical. Added to this is that peculiar strain and quality only known to our people, and which makes for what is now called blues singing. It is something on the order of what was called coon shouting, and which, in spite of the ugly name had an appeal in it that touched most of our race…Bessie Smith is on that order – a blend of coon shouting and blues singing.”

Billy Lewis 1918, Indianapolis