(1886 - 1939)
(Born April 26, 1886, Columbus, Georgia; died
December 22, 1939, Columbus, Georgia)
"Ma" Rainey was born
Gertrude Pridgett, April 26, 1886, Columbus,
Georgia. Along with Bessie Smith, "Ma" Rainey is
regarded as the best of the 1920s classic blues
She was most likely the first woman to incorporate
blues into minstrel and vaudeville stage shows,
perhaps as early as 1902.
Rainey is often called the "Mother of the Blues"
since she inspired many of the female blues singers
who followed her. Her influence was profound,
despite the fact that before her recording debut she
rarely performed outside the south.
Rainey's vocal delivery was closer to the raw, earthy
blues style of southern country blues artist than more
urbanized, cabaret-like presentation of the female
blues singers who began recording in the early 1920s.
On her best records, Rainey sang with a rootsy,
homespun authenticity; thus, Rainy is the
all-important connection between male-dominated
country blues and female-dominated urban blues in the
-- The Big Book of Blues : A Biographical