Friday, December 12, 2014
Victoria Spivey- Blues Singer and Owner of Spivey Records.
Victoria Spivey was an American blues singer and songwriter. During a recording career that spanned 40 years, from 1926 to the mid-1960s, she worked with Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Clarence Williams, Luis Russell, Lonnie Johnson, and Bob Dylan. She also performed in vaudeville and clubs, sometimes with her sister, Addie "Sweet Pease" Spivey. Among her compositions are "Black Snake Blues", "Dope Head Blues" and "Organ Grinder Blues". In 1962 she initiated her own recording label, Spivey Records. Spivey's first professional experience was in a family string band led by her father in Houston. After Grant Spivey died, the seven-year-old Victoria played on her own at local parties and, in 1918, was hired to accompany films at the Lincoln Theater in Dallas. In 1926, she moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she was signed by Okeh Records. Her first recording, "Black Snake Blues", did well, and her association with the record label continued. In 1929 she switched to the RCA Victor label. In 1951, Spivey retired from show business to play the pipe organ and lead a church choir, but she returned to secular music in 1961, when she was reunited with an old singing partner, Lonnie Johnson, to appear on four tracks on his Prestige Bluesville album, Idle Hours. In 1962, Spivey and jazz historian Len Kunstadt launched Spivey Records, a low-budget label dedicated to blues and related music. They recorded prolifically such performers as Sippie Wallace, Lucille Hegamin, Otis Rush, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Roosevelt Sykes, Big Joe Turner, Buddy Tate and Hannah Sylvester.