Alice Leslie Carter was an American
classic female blues singer. She was active as a recording artist in the
early 1920s, and her best known tracks were 'Decatur Street Blues', and
'Aunt Hagar's Children Blues.' Although Carter was a contemporary of better
known recording artists of the time, such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Clara
Smith, Victoria Spivey, Sippie Wallace, and Bertha 'Chippie' Hill, little is
known of her life outside of her music.
She is not to be confused with Alice Carter, another blues singer, who
recorded four songs herself in 1923.
Carter recorded eleven sides in 1921, with musical accompaniment led by
James P. Johnson on piano. She recorded at a time when record labels were
keen to sign up anyone capable of singing a blues song, such was the market
demand. However, while some of these performers were less than capable,
Carter's work showed her strong vocal abilities. Her output included the
first vocalised recording of the W. C. Handy and Tim Brymn co-written song,
'Aunt Hagar's Children Blues.'
On January 20, 1922, Carter competed against Lucille Hegamin, Daisy Martin,
and the eventual winner Trixie Smith, in a blues singing contest at the
Inter-Manhattan Casino in New York City.
All of her recorded output was included on the compilation album, Female
Blues Singers, Vol. 4: C (1921-1930), released in 1997 by Document Records.