Lavinia Turner
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Lavinia Turner
Lavinia Turner
Born c. 1888
Virginia or New York City, United States
Died After 1937
Genres Classic female blues[1]
Instruments Vocals
Labels Pathe; Actuelle, Perfect,[2]Okeh Records[3]

Lavinia Turner (born c. 1888; died after 1937)[4] was an American classic female blues singer. Originally a vaudeville vocalist, Turner recorded ten songs in 1921 and 1922, making her one of the first female blues singers to be recorded.[5]

Details of her life outside the recording studio are minimal.


Turner was born either in Virginia or in New York City, to parents from Virginia, probably about 1888.[4]

Her first recordings, almost certainly in March 1921,[6] were of "How Many Times?" and "Can't Get Lovin' Blues", with piano accompaniment, possibly by Willie Gant.[7] It is thought that Clarence Williams played the piano on two of her other recordings.[7]Gus Aiken (trumpet) was also credited on recording sessions with Turner in 1921.[8] Turner was thus one of the first black women to sing blues on recordings, which were made in New York. However, also in 1921, other blues singers, such as Lillyn Brown, Lucille Hegamin, and Daisy Martin, all made records.[9] Six of Turner's sides, including "When the Rain Turns into Snow (Who's Gonna Keep You Warm)" and "Who'll Drive Your Blues Away",[10] were with piano accompaniment by James P. Johnson. They were originally issued on both Pathe; Actuelle Records and Perfect Records.[11] At least two of her tracks were issued by Okeh Records.[3]

Two of the songs that Turner recorded, "Watch Me Go" and "He Took It Away from Me", were written by Roy Turk and J. Russel Robinson.[11]

Turner's brief recording career finished in October 1922.[2] In 1930, she was living as a widow in New York,[4] and may be the person of that name who made a Social Security application in 1937.[12]

Her work has appeared on various compilation albums, including Female Blues 1921-1928 (Document Records, 1997), which includes "When the Rain Turns into Snow (Who's Gonna Keep You Warm)" and "Who'll Drive Your Blues Away".[13] In 1994, Document Records issued an anthology incorporating all of her known recorded work, together with the later recordings of Virginia Liston.[14]


  • Virginia Liston, Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, vol. 2 (1924-1926), with Lavinia Turner, Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order (1921-1922), Document Records, 2000.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "Lavinia Turner: Songs". Retrieved . 
  2. ^ a b "Mamie Smith: The First Lady of the Blues". Jas Obrecht Music Archive. 2010-06-07. Retrieved . 
  3. ^ a b "Lavinia Turner, "How Can I Be Your Sweet Mamma When You Are Daddy to Somebody Else" / "Don't Cut Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face"". 1923-03-03. Retrieved . 
  4. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 525. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  5. ^ "Virginia Liston Vol. 2 (1924-1926), with Lavinia Turner (1921-1922)". 2000-09-07. Retrieved . 
  6. ^ Cohen, Norm (2000). Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksong. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-252-06881-2. 
  7. ^ a b Gibbs, Craig Martin (20 December 2012). Black Recording Artists, 1877-1926: An Annotated Discography. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-4766-0085-7. 
  8. ^ Franklin, Benjamin, V (30 May 2016). An Encyclopedia of South Carolina Jazz and Blues Musicians. p. 43. ISBN 978-1-61117-622-3. 
  9. ^ "Big Road Blues, Part 127". Retrieved . 
  10. ^ "Perfect 12039 78 RPM Record Lavinia Turner Blues". Retrieved . 
  11. ^ a b "Lavinia Turner and James P. Johnson's Harmony Seven". 1921-02-09. Retrieved . 
  12. ^ "Lavinia Turner, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Provo, Utah". 2015. Retrieved . 
  13. ^ "Document Records Blues and Jazz Artists". Retrieved . 
  14. ^ a b "Virginia Liston: Discography". 2000-09-07. Retrieved . 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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