Me and Bessie

Linda Hopkins - Me and Bessie

1976

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All Music Guide Review

Although Linda Hopkins had recorded fairly extensively during 1951-65, this LP (her first recording in a decade) was a breakthrough for her. At the time she was appearing in the successful Broadway musical Me and Bessie, and despite her versatility, she would from then on be associated with the music of Bessie Smith. The strange part about this record is that Hopkins (who is backed by an unidentified small group plus some vocalists) does not sound much like Bessie Smith and in fact her interpretations of the mostly vintage material are quite rubish, sometimes sounding close to Aretha Franklin. A few of the songs ("Romance in the Dark," "Fare Thee Well" and "Trouble") have nothing to do with Bessie Smith although the other tunes (which include "Gimme a Pigfoot," "T'Ain't Nobody's Bizness if I Do," "You've Been a Good Old Wagon" and "Empty Bed Blues") certainly do. To fully enjoy this well-performed album one has to put away their expectations of Hopkins doing a close impression of Bessie Smith and enjoy her singing on its own terms. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi

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