Hill, “Chippie” Bertha (1905-1950)

Born in Charleston, one of 16 children; one of the classic blues singers of the 1920s – Hill’s style is less vaudeville-oriented compared to even many of her contemporaries; she began working, professionally, as a dancer in 1916; toured with Ma Rainey’s Rabbit Foot Minstrels and was a vaudeville performer for many years; in Chicago, where she settled, her first recordings were with Louis Armstrong (1925) – a hit record was the famous 8-bar blues, “Trouble in Mind”; she also recorded “Georgia Man” and several others with Louis Armstrong and pianist, Richard Jones; she performed a seven-month gig at the Palladium dance hall where King Oliver was playing; in late 1946, she recorded “How Long Blues,” “Charleston Blues” (composed by W.C. Handy and others), “Trouble in Mind” and “Careless Love” with Freddie Shayne, Lee Collins and Baby Dodds; she left music in the 1930s to raise seven children and sang intermittently over the next 15 years; she was rediscovered by Rudi Blesh in 1946 working in a bakery and was featured on his radio show, “This is Jazz” and in Time magazine which resulted in her comeback to the music industry; performed at the Village Vanguard, Jimmy Ryan’s with “Hot Lips” Page, at Carnegie Hall in 1948 with Kid Ory, at the Paris Jazz Festival and worked with Art Hodes in Chicago; in 1950, she was run over by a car in New York City at the prime of her musical career.

Image Gallery

Selected Albums


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