28 March 2008

Ma's house

The New York Times today published a nice piece on the reopening of the Ma Rainey house as a museum. Sure, it happened months ago. But it's still good to get the national coverage about "the house that nobody wanted" (as Florene Dawkins, with Friends of Ma Rainey, says in the story).

Read it here...

If you don't know about Ma, she was basically the mother of the blues. She performed in traveling minstrel shows and ransacked the blues until it became something very similar to what it sounds like today. She was a huge influence on both Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong. And she was from Columbus, and she retired back here to run a couple of nightclubs. Her only downfall was she was born about 10 years too soon to take advantage of the recording industry, which blossomed after her peak. Still, there are a number of recordings of her stuff out there, even if the quality is sketchy.

There will be a fancy-schmancy Web site for the house/museum at some point, at this site.


Bebe Bahnsen said...

Thanks for the mention of the NYT story. I often treat myself to the Times but they didn't have it today in two of the usual places I buy it. I do read it online but I'm an old-fashioned newspaper lover. Good news for you who still toil in those fields. I loved her lyrics,
“Don’t like my ocean, don’t fish in my sea, Stay out of my valley, and let my mountain be.”
Thanks, too, for the comments on the killings yesterday.

Brad Barnes said...

Thanks, Bebe! You have to help keep us in business long enough for me to retire!