Maybe not quite the blues equal of Bessie Smith, nevertheless Sara Martin was a fine and very popular classic blues singer. Often referred to as "the blues sensation of the West," Sara Martin was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1884 and began her singing career on the vaudeville circuit. A tall attractive woman,  she switched to blues singing in the early 1920's. In 1922, she signed for OKeh Records and began a very successful recording career, releasing some great tracks like "Mean Tight Mama", "Uncle Sam Blues" and  "Death Sting Me Blues". Throughout the 1920's she toured and recorded, and her previous vaudeville experience  led to her becoming popular on the Southern Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA) circuit, eventually playing theatres and clubs on the American east coast as well. On stage she was noted for her big voice, extravagant and somewhat gaudy costumes and a dramatic performing style. In the early 1930's she gave up performing and returned to her home town Louisville where she opened a nursing home. This she ran for the next 20 years only singing gospel on occasions in her local church. Sara Martin died  aged 71 in 1955 after suffering a stroke.


    Atlanta Blues