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I could DIE doin' this" - Yank Rachell encouraging Dan Smith on Night Latch Blues

Author Topic: Amanda/Ann Sortier?  (Read 1619 times)

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Offline Chezztone

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Amanda/Ann Sortier?
« on: February 14, 2007, 11:07:24 PM »
Anyone know of any articles, references, other info on one of my favorite obscure blues artists, the great Amanda Sortier? At least she played (washboard) and sang under that name on the 1940 recordings she did with Big Joe and His Washboard Band. That fabulous group was led by Joe McCoy and also featured his cousin Robert Lee McCoy on harp. Robert Lee McCoy would go on to greater renown as a Chicago-based guitarist-singer after changing his name to Robert Nighthawk. The liner notes to "Good Time Blues: Harmonicas, Kazoos, Washboards & Cow-bells," which includes four Big Joe and His Washboard Band cuts, identify Sortier as Robert Lee's girlfriend. I've never known more about her until recently when I read Henry Townsend's autobiography, where he says that Nighthawk and a girlfriend named Ann Sortier were popular in Chicago. This provokes questions: Are Amanda and Ann sisters, or is that the same person? What instrument did she play with him in Chicago (washboard presumably would have been too downhome for his electric chicago sound, so maybe she played drums or just sang)? 

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Amanda/Ann Sortier?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2007, 11:42:55 PM »
One and the same and also known as Amanda Porter/Ann Sorter. Her instrument was washboard as you surmise and also recorded with Jazz Gillum. Laura Dukes when interviewed by Robert Springer in the 70s recalled Sortier as being a girlfriend of Nighthawk when she travelled with him in the 40s. She also recorded in her own right in the 1945/6 as Ann Sorter McCoy with Jack Cooley. And that just about exhausts the little knowledge I have.

Offline Richard

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Re: Amanda/Ann Sortier?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2007, 12:18:14 PM »
I think I gave her a plug on the Wasboard show I did, nice player   ::)
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Amanda/Ann Sortier?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2007, 12:49:20 PM »
Paul Oliver reviewing a British RCA Jazz Gillum LP in 1966 noted:

"Washboard Sam's swinging board playing is to be heard on Muddy Pond Blues, but Neil Slaven in an informative, but slightly grudging sleeve note, doesn't seem to do Amanda Sortier justice for her playing on Maybe You'll Love Me Too".

Indeed not, exhuberant is perhaps understating matters. :) Great stuff.

Offline Chezztone

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Re: Amanda/Ann Sortier?
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2007, 04:49:55 PM »
Cool. Thanks for helping verify that Amanda/Ann is one person, and that there are other variants of her name. And that she played with Gillum. Apparently she also played with Sleepy John Estes.

 


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