Tag Archives: blues shouters

Blues shouting and soulful singer Big Maybelle

Blues shouting and soulful singer Big Maybelle

When the swing bands around the thirties developed mostly male singer had a voice that was powerful enough to raise above the brass and drums. Blues shouting artist like Wynonie Harris made fame around the country and a new genre in blues music developed. Big Joe Turner was an absolute hero in shouting the urban blues. His Female equivalent is maybe Big Maybelle. A wonderful singer who carried many people through the 40s, 50s and 60s with her golden voice.

Big Maybelle Rhythm and Blues groups

She was a singer with great reach, but also a soulful singer. When she decided at age 12 to leave the church gospel group to become part of the Rhythm and Blues group The Sweathearts of Rhythm she knew her business wasn’t gospel but Blues. At age twenty she had already toured the deep south for over eight years. She was part of several groups like Christine Chatman’s Orchestra and Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra.

Big Maybelle, this woman is special in the way she sings, she is hard in the way she shouts. Her songs dig deep in the true blues and soul feeling, in some way she was an early Etta James.

Big Maybelle at Okeh Records

After years of touring with several musicians she met Fred Mendelsohn who signed Big Maybelle to Okeh records (source: ‘Before elvis: the pre history of R&R, Larry BirnBaum’) With Mendelsohn Big maybelle’s songs became bluesier and her voice raspier. One of her hits with Okeh was “Gabbin Blues”. Also ‘Candy’ is a song for the later hours slow and deep, but what all Big Maybelle’s songs have in common, they are soulful as a city down and out.

Big Maybelle Rhythm and Blues Hits

I hate to see that evening sun go down,I hate to see that evening sun go down, Cause my lovin’ baby done left this town                            – St. Louis Blues –


Maybelle knew the business of the soul and the ballad, but you should really listen to the rhythm and blues songs this lady made. Songs like ‘96 Tears’, ‘One Monkey Won’t Stop No Show’ and ‘Whole lotta Shakin’ Goin On’ are absolute phenomenal songs.

Over the Years Big Maybelle developed a heroin habit. She continued recording with several record labels throughout the sixties, but she would never reach the fame she once had with Okeh Records. Big Maybelle died of diabetes at the age 47 in Cleveland. She will never be forgotten.


Big Maybelle One Monkey Don’t Stop The Show

Big Maybelle – Whole Lotta Shakin´ Goin´ On

Big Maybelle & Rose Marie McCoy – Gabbin’ Blues (1952)

That’s A Pretty Good Love – Big Maybelle 1956

Don’t Leave Poor Me: Big Maybelle

Candy by Big Maybelle on 1956

Big Maybelle – It’s A Man’s Man’s World

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