#2859 – 1994 29c Blues and Jazz Singers: "Ma" Rainey

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U.S. #2859
29¢ “Ma” Rainey
Blues and Jazz Singers
 
Issue Date: September 17, 1994
City: Greenville, MS
Quantity: 24,986,800
Printed By: Ashton-Potter
Printing Method:
Lithographed
Perforations:
11 x 10.8
Color: Multicolored
 
Gertrude Melissa Nix Pridgett was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1886. At age 14 she made her debut in a talent show, and was soon performing with vaudeville troupes. Four years later she married Will “Pa” Rainey, a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels traveling show. The couple toured under the name Rainey and Rainey – “The Assassinators of the Blues.” Everyone came to call Gertrude “Ma,” or the “Mother of the Blues,” as she claimed to have named the music.
 
Ma Rainey first discovered the “blues” when she heard a young girl singing a “strange and poignant” lament in a small Missouri town in 1902. Soon after she began incorporating a blues encore into her show. Later blues music became her main form of expression.
 
Ma Rainey had a powerful, contralto voice (the lowest female part), and sang with great emotion. Utilizing great control to produce a wide-ranging, sweeping sound, Rainey performed music true to her roots, and disliked risqué or commercial songs. In 1923 she began recording for Paramount, and was a great success. By 1928 she had recorded over 90 songs. After her mother’s death in 1934, Ma quit touring, and invested in two small theaters. Five years later she passed away in the comfort of her Columbus home.
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U.S. #2859
29¢ “Ma” Rainey
Blues and Jazz Singers
 
Issue Date: September 17, 1994
City: Greenville, MS
Quantity: 24,986,800
Printed By: Ashton-Potter
Printing Method:
Lithographed
Perforations:
11 x 10.8
Color: Multicolored
 
Gertrude Melissa Nix Pridgett was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1886. At age 14 she made her debut in a talent show, and was soon performing with vaudeville troupes. Four years later she married Will “Pa” Rainey, a member of the Rabbit Foot Minstrels traveling show. The couple toured under the name Rainey and Rainey – “The Assassinators of the Blues.” Everyone came to call Gertrude “Ma,” or the “Mother of the Blues,” as she claimed to have named the music.
 
Ma Rainey first discovered the “blues” when she heard a young girl singing a “strange and poignant” lament in a small Missouri town in 1902. Soon after she began incorporating a blues encore into her show. Later blues music became her main form of expression.
 
Ma Rainey had a powerful, contralto voice (the lowest female part), and sang with great emotion. Utilizing great control to produce a wide-ranging, sweeping sound, Rainey performed music true to her roots, and disliked risqué or commercial songs. In 1923 she began recording for Paramount, and was a great success. By 1928 she had recorded over 90 songs. After her mother’s death in 1934, Ma quit touring, and invested in two small theaters. Five years later she passed away in the comfort of her Columbus home.