"The Queen"

That Other Houston Blues Shoutin' Woman, or, The Lone Star Is Not Alone

Joining that other blueswoman from Houston, Texas, Sippie Wallace, was Victoria, albeit this star shone first on October 15, 1906 in the Spivey residence eight years after the former. This was a household not unacustomed to music, as she had blues belting sisters, Addie "Sweet Pease," and Elton engaged in a different kind of sibling rivalry.

Bluesiest Whorehouse in Texas

It was in all kinds of clubs in Houston, including houses of ill-repute, where Victoria Spivey started her professional career. It was in these juke joints where she observed the bad side of town which not only influenced her songwriting but affected her style: adenoid-aided growling in a distinct manner; with songs like "Organ Grinder Blues" evoking this flapper era on the hippest side of town, or she could tell you about either the "Dope Head Blues" and the dangers of Cocaine, or lament poverty's "Dirty T.B. Blues." With songs of topicality including murder and social injustice she was the folk purest in that Texas raw way that Bessie Smith, or even her 'teacher', Ida Cox were not, and the history of success sometimes only follows the 'smooth' big sellers, but Victoria's business savvy gave her a special longevity that took her beyond those other shooting stars.

Recording Artistry

She was only 16 when she got her chance to go to OKeh and recorded her 1926 release, "Black Snake Blues." This song done about a year later became a signature song for Blind Lemon Jefferson. She worked in the late twenties for the St. Louis Music company and eventually recorded for Victor, Decca, Vocalion besides OKeh up until 19371 when she performed exclusively in vaudeville.

Other Notable Contributions

In 1929 she starred as Missy Rose in the debut pioneer Negro talking motion picture, King Vidor's Hallelujah. She was busy in New York either solo, with dancer Billy Adams or with roles in stage productions one most famous being Hellazapoppin' Revue.

Repentence Retirement Revival

One source2 declares 1937, while another lists 19503 (a year she retired) as the year that Victoria turned away from the suggestive and honky-tonk related repetoire and found the saving faith, paralleling her Texas blues singing competitor, Sippie Wallace.

Anyway, by 1961 she came out of this fade-away and formed her own label, Spivey bringing together many famed old-timers, some out of their retirement, like her friend, Sissie Wallace. Out of this collaboration the likes of Memphis Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, Lonnie Johnson, and Koko Taylor came to her studios, including a newcomer accompanying her on some cuts, Bob Dylan. she thrilled and entertained, even writing new material performed sometimes on ukelele as well as piano, unfortunately though she convinced Alberta Hunter and Lucille Hegamin to the microphones, the quality sometimes suffered. She was cut off twelve days short of her seventieth birthday in New York in 1976, but her legacy as first in breakthroughs continues.



Black Snake Blues Stash
Dirty Woman's Blues RST
Long Gone Blues Best of Blues (BoB)
No More Jelly Bean Blues BoB
Hoodoo Man Blues RST
Spider Web Blues RST
It's Evil Hearted Me BoB
Sante Fe Blues Document
Humored and Petted Blues RST
Big Houston Blues Document
Got The Blues So Bad Document Document
Blue Valley Blues RST


Steady Grind Document
Idle Hour Blues Document
Arkansas Road Spivey
The Alligator Pond Went Dry Spivey
Let Me Roam Document
T.B. Blues Document
Garter Snake Blues Document
Christmas Morning Blues Document
Dope Head Blues Stash; Columbia
Red Lantern Blues BoB
Blood Thirsty Blues Document
Nightmare Blues Document
Murder in the First Degree] Spivey
Jelly Look What You Done Done RST
Your Worries Ain't Like Mine Document
A Good Man is Hard to Find Document


My Handy Man Document; Parlophone
Organ Grinder Blues Spivey
New Black Snake Blues Pt. 1 Spivey; Queendisc
No, Papa, No! RST
Toothache Blues Pt. 1 BoB
Furniture Man Blues Pt. 1 & 2 RST
You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now! Pt. 1 & 2 Matchbox
Funny Feathers CBS
How Do You Do It? Spivey
Blood Hound Blues RCA
Dirty T.B. Blues RCA
Moaning the Blues RCA
Telephoning the Blues Spivey
New York Blues RST
Lonesome With the Blues Document
Showered With the Blues Document
Haunted by the Blues RST
You've Gotta Have What It Takes Pt. 1 & 2 Bob
Haulin' Water Blues Pt. 1 & 2 Document
Nebraska Blues Document
He Wants Too Much RST
Low Down Man Blues RST
Don't Trust Nobody Blues Spivey
Dreaming 'bout My Man Bob
Sweet Pease Bob
Black Snake Swing Bob
Dreaming of You Pt. 1 & 2 Spivey
I Can't Last Long Spivey
Mr. Freddie Blues Document
Trouble in Mind Bob
Hollywood Stomp Epic
Detroit Moan Spivey
Any-Kind-a-Man Bob
I Ain't Gonna Let You See My Santa Claus Magpie
One Hour Mama Meritt
Harlem Susie-Kue Meritt
Give it to Him Meritt; Spivey
Got the Blues So Bad Meritt
Harlem Susie-Q Meritt
Down Hill Pull Columbia
From 1 to 12 (Dirty Dozen) Bob
Good Cabbage Bob
Time Ain't Long RST
Don't Love No Married Man RST

from: (http://sunsite.kth.se/feastlib/mrf/yinyue/pw/SPIVIC.HTM)

1Sonic Net
2Memphis Guide
3Blue Flame Cafe

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