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On the rail trail of Bessie Tucker - Queen of the Texas Moaners “Archival Copy” ~ Only Available on CD-ROM

“KATY'S AT THE STATION. SANTA FE IS IN THE YARD”
On the rail trail of Bessie Tucker - Queen of the Texas Moaners.
Bessie Tucker 
No enlargement of this photo is available.
 
    Despite being one of the finest rural or downhome female blues singers ever to record, along with Lucille Bogan, Memphis Minnie, and Pearl Dickson, we know precious little about Bessie Tucker. Even though her recorded legacy (1928-1929) has been made available via C.D. on the indefatigable Document label, (see discography at end of this article). The one exception is "Pick On Me Blues" (Vi unissued) from her Oct. 17th. session in 1929, which remains untraced. A young and very attractive near-white looking singer. Tucker possessed a powerful voice, a kind of female equivalent to Charlie Patton, which goes back to the very roots of the Blues. Like Patton, her hollered and deep moaning vocals belie the slight physical stature of the singer. Apart from a tenuous reference to both Bessie Tucker and Ida Mae/May Mack, by Whistlin' Alex Moore in a 1960 interview with Paul Oliver; nothing else has been discovered despite long and fruitless searches by other collectors as well as Oliver himself. Ida May Mack, only a slightly less powerful singer, had shared both Bessie's 1928 sessions for Victor and also her accompanist, K.D.Johnson. Moore, a superb pianist from Dallas, related that both Tucker and Mack are "...tough cookies, don't mess with them..." in the present tense; in 1960. This quite reasonably led Oliver to suppose the two singers "were still around" at that time. However, in a further conversation with the barrelhouse pianist in 1972, Moore "... could not recall either name." He was also "extremely vague about both women" and Paul Oliver rightly suspected that Alex Moore "had heard their records and drawn his own conclusions." This included Moore's comment that "Bessie did time in the pen." [1]. A cursory listen to her "Penitentiary" (1928) could not fail to convince the listener of this apparent fact.
Notes
[1] Oliver Paul. Notes to "Bessie Tucker & Ida Mae Mack" (1928). L.P. Magpie PY 1815. 1979.

Copyright 2002 Max Haymes. All rights reserved.
Webpage last updated:   Thursday, July 6, 2006