Martha Copeland

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martha copelandMartha Copeland was an American classic female blues singer, who recorded thirty four songs between 1923 and 1928. Her best known offerings are "Everybody Does It Now," "Good Time Mama Blues," and "Sorrow Valley Blues." Promoted by Columbia Records as 'Everybody's Mammy', her recordings did not sell in the quantities enjoyed by her label mates Bessie and Clara Smith. Outside of her recording career, little is known of her life.

Copeland's birth date is unknown, although Paul Oliver in his record sleeve notes to The Story of The Blues, Vol. 2, commented that she was in her forties when Victoria Spivey (born 1906) was in her teens. Copeland started her recording career with Okeh in 1923, and appeared in a vaudeville revue, Shuffle Along. Her output veered between blues standards; mirror images of current popular tracks ("Soul and Body," in response to Coleman Hawkins's, "Body and Soul"); and comedic numbers ("I Ain't Your Hen, Mr. Fly Rooster" and "When The Wind Make Connection With Your Dry Goods").

Her more notable accompanists at various recordings included Rube Bloom, Eddie Heywood, Lou Hooper, Cliff Jackson, James P. Johnson, and Louis Metcalf (all on piano), plus Bob Fuller (clarinet), and Bubber Miley (trumpet).

Her total recording output is available on Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1923-1927), and Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1927-1928) (Document). Various compilation albums also contain examples of Copeland's work.


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