The city of St. Louis has fascinated so many musicians, including the late, great Bessie Smith. W.C. Handy released his St. Louis Blues in 1914.

We can’t know exactly what it was like but this picture captures some of the wonderful, infectious energy that radiated off the city streets. It was taken on March 23, 1890  The sign stretching across street reads Crawford’s.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

St. Louis 1890

 

For some reason, I couldn’t upload Bessie Smith’s version of St. Louis Blues or even attach the YouTube video, but you can check it out here.

St. Louis Blues (1925)

I hate to see the evening sun go down
I hate to see the evening sun go down
It makes me think I’m on my last go ’round

Feeling tomorrow like I feel today
Feeling tomorrow like I feel today
I’ll pack my grip and make my getaway

Saint Louis woman with her diamond rings
Pulls that man around by her apron strings
Wasn’t for powder and store-bought hair
The man I love wouldn’t go nowhere, nowhere

I got them Saint Louis Blues; just as blue as I can be
He’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea
Or else he wouldn’t have gone so far from me