Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 15 Oct. '06, Houston TX; d 3 Oct. '76, NYC) Blues singer, pianist. Grew up in Dallas, played piano locally at age eleven; recorded prolifically for OKeh '26--9, Victor '29--30, Vocalion '31, Decca '36, Vocalion '36-- 7; accompanists incl. Lonnie Johnson, Thomas A. Dorsey (Georgia Tom), Clarence Williams's Blue 5 with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Henry Allen Jr and his New York Orchestra, her own Hunter's Serenaders (with Lloyd Hunter on trumpet; eleven-piece band '31 incl. Jo Jones on drums). Her sisters Addie 'Sweet Pease' Spivey (1910--43) and Elton Island Spivey (1900--71; 'The Zu Zu Girl') were also recording artists. She appeared in the first all-black musical film Hallelujah! '29, toured with Olsen and Johnson in Hellzapoppin c'40, etc. Left music '50s but came back, formed Queen Vee label '61, recorded on Bluesway '61 (with Johnson, Buster Bailey), on Folkways '62; formed Spivey label c'61 and frequently recorded until '76, on GHB with the Easy Rider Jazz Band '66 etc as well as on her own label, where she also recorded young talent. Records on Spivey were available once again '87, incl. The Recorded Legacy Of Victoria Spivey '27--37; Basket Of Blues with Victoria, Lucille Hegamin, Hannah Sylvester; two vols of Three Kings And The Queen '61, with Victoria, Big Joe Williams, Roosevelt Sykes, Lonnie Johnson, guest Bob Dylan (he played harmonica as 'Big Joe's Buddy'; a photo of Dylan with her appeared on the back of his New Morning '70); about 30 more incl. blues compilations etc, but they do not seem to have made it to CD. Woman Blues! with Lonnie Johnson is on Fantasy CD.