|Birth Day:||April 1, 1897|
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Coming out of the Alabama blues scene, she made her first recording in the 1920s and then teamed up with pianist Walter Roland for what would be nearly one hundred recordings.
She was born Lucille Anderson in Amory, Mississippi, and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1914, she married Nazareth Lee Bogan, a railwayman, and gave birth to a son, Nazareth Jr., in either 1915 or 1916. She later divorced Bogan and married James Spencer, who was 22 years younger than she.
She first recorded vaudeville songs for Okeh Records in New York in 1923, with the pianist Henry Callens. Later that year she recorded "Pawn Shop Blues" in Atlanta, Georgia; this was the first time a black blues singer had been recorded outside New York or Chicago. In 1927 she began recording for Paramount Records in Grafton, Wisconsin, where she recorded her first big success, "Sweet Petunia", which was covered by Blind Blake. She also recorded for Brunswick Records, backed by Tampa Red.
By 1930 her songs tended to concern drinking and sex, such as "Sloppy Drunk Blues" (covered by Leroy Carr and others) and "Tricks Ain't Walkin' No More" (later recorded by Memphis Minnie). She also recorded the original version of "Black Angel Blues", which (as "Sweet Little Angel") was covered by B. B. King and many others. With her experience in some of the rowdier juke joints of the 1920s, many of Bogan's songs, most of which she wrote herself, have thinly veiled humorous sexual references. The theme of prostitution, in particular, featured prominently in several of her recordings. One of these was "Groceries on the Shelf (Piggly Wiggly)", which was originally written and recorded by Charlie "Specks" McFadden. Piggly Wiggly is the name of a successful American supermarket chain, operating in the South and the Midwest, which first opened in 1916. Bogan used the self-service notion in her amended lyrics to the song, part of which ran, "My name is Piggly Wiggly and I swear you can help yourself, And you've got to have your greenback, and it don't take nothin' else".
In 1933, she returned to New York, and, apparently to conceal her identity, began recording as Bessie Jackson for the Banner label of ARC. She was usually accompanied on piano by Walter Roland, with whom she recorded over 100 songs between 1933 and 1935, including some of her biggest commercial successes, "Seaboard Blues", "Troubled Mind", and "Superstitious Blues". Her other songs include "Stew Meat Blues", "Coffee Grindin' Blues", "My Georgia Grind", "Honeycomb Man", "Mr. Screw Worm in Trouble", and "Bo Hog Blues".
She appears not to have recorded after 1935. She managed her son's jazz group, Bogan's Birmingham Busters, for a time, before moving to Los Angeles shortly before her death from coronary sclerosis in 1948. She is interred at the Lincoln Memorial Park, in Compton, California.
Currently, Bessie Jackson is 124 years, 6 months and 18 days old. Bessie Jackson will celebrate 125th birthday on a Friday 1st of April 2022.
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