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Feminist Fun in Music/New Release

Posted by Jane Hardcastle on

Just released: Feminist Blues: Choice and Independence in the Songs of Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie, and Billie Holiday.

An analysis of early African American female song lyrics, this book encompasses the music of three major singers: Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie, and Billie Holiday. The song explications focus on the ways in which these performers exhibit choice and independence in their music, which is broken down into four categories that frequently characterize women’s blues songs: sexual freedom, violence against women, obligations, and infidelities.

Well-researched and sourced, this project also includes information on cultural customs and language variations inherent in the often-humorous slang of 1920s through 1940s blues music—fascinating tidbits which help bring lyrics laden with double meanings into clear focus.


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