The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Vaudevillians #14

Bee Palmer


Joe Thompson said...

Queen of the shimmy dance.

Sazerac the Clown said...

Now THAT's a terrible singer. Here vocal on "Singin' the Blues" is like comedy.

Fernando said...

Lord alive, she is just gorgeous.

Joe Thompson said...

Ralph Berton wrote a book called "Remembering Bix". He spent three pages reminiscing about seeing her perform. He wasn't paying attention to her voice: "She had 'em eating out of her hot little hand: You may be fast, but your mama's gonna slow you down, putting a funky growl into like a real black blues shouter, Bix filling in behind her real nasty, using a derby hat as a mute. The crowd ate her alive. You have to picture this blazing blonde standing there half naked, her delicate beauty and amazing body as though offerring themselves to all, wailing Don't You Want to Touch My Mojo?, Eagle Rock Me Papa Till I Can't Stand Up ... It was really no more than a 'shake dance' such as you'd see in any club floor show, but Bee had more to shake, and did besides with a real dancer's grace and unsurpassed intesity." There's more, but, like Bee, I'll leave you hungering.

Tom Sutpen said...


I like her recordings . . . then again, I like Lily Delk Christian's recordings as well.


Thanks for that quote. Bee Palmer has always seemed like one of those women who, no matter how beautifully they photographed, you just know, somehow, that she was ten times more so in person.