Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Willie Mae Thornton was born in 1926, one of seven children born to an Alabama baptist minister.   she dropped out of school at an early age when her mother died and went to work, doing -- among other chores -- the cleaning of spittoons at a local bar.  At the age of fourteen, she left home and with the help of Bessie Smith's half-sister Diamond Teeth Mary, got her first professional singing job with a Harlem revue.  Her style was heavily influenced by her early singing in the Bapatist church and by Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie.  Then came the newly popular rhythm and blues style...

He first big hit was "Hound Dog" and she was the first to record that Leiber and Stoller classic.  That recording was to be out-shadowed by the Elvis Presley version three years later.  He career was marked by ups and downs and racial discrimination.  She became an alcoholic and people began to openlt question her sexuality.  Nonetheless, she remained influential and respected among her peers and enjoyed success in Europe.  Her demons finally won out and she was found dead of heart and liver problems in 1984 in a L.A. rooming house.  Her weight had shrunk from 350 pounds to 95 pounds.

Hound Dog Blues:

Ball and Chain:

Everything Gonna Be Alright:

Rock Me:

My Heavy Road:

Down home Shakedown:

Let's Go Get Stoned:

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (with Aretha on this great Bessie Smith song):


Born Under a Bad sign:

Little Red Rooster:

Sometime I Have a Heartache:

They Call Me Big Mama:

Wade in the Water:

Unlucky Girl:

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