Barbara Dane

”Bessie Smith in Stereo” said jazz critic Leonard Feather in Playboy magazine when Barbara Dane burst onto the scene in the late '50s. Time magazine said of her: “The voice is pure, rich...rare as a 20 karat diamond.” To Ebony magazine, she seemed “startlingly blonde, especially when that powerful dusky alto voice begins to moan of trouble, two-timing men and freedom... with stubborn determination, enthusiasm and a basic love for the underdog (she is) making a name for herself...aided and abetted by some of the oldest names in jazz who helped give birth to the blues...” The seven-page Ebony article—their first feature story about a white woman (Nov., l959)— was filled with photos of Dane working with Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Clara Ward, Mama Yancey, Little Brother Montgomery and others.

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”Did you get that chick? She's a gasser!” (Louis Armstrong, Time Magazine 1959)

“As a gut-level blues singer she is without compare.” (Phil Elwood, SF Examiner 1987)

“...perhaps the finest living interpreter of the classic blues of the 20's.” Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express 1996)

“A celebration of the human spirit accented by a bawdy feminist humor and a healthy sense of the absurd.” (J. Poet, SF Chronicle 1998)

“She’s always been a role model and a hero of mine – musically and politically.” (Bonnie Raitt, KALW 2010)

“Barbara Dane still has pipes of polished brass.” (New York Times, 2011)

5 Photos View in Slideshow




Ma Rainey Ma Rainey
Elizabeth Cotten Elizabeth Cotten
guitar, acoustic
Sippie Wallace Sippie Wallace
Odetta Odetta
guitar, acoustic

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