Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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AUSTIN, Lovie

(b Cora Calhoun, 19 Sep. 1887, Chattanooga TN; d 10 July '72, Chicago) Blues pianist. Worked in Knoxville, Nashville; vaudeville tours; led Blues Serenaders, recording for Paramount '24-6 (on 'Steppin' On The Blues' and 'Traveling Blues' '24 the little-recorded and legendary Tommy Ladnier did some of his best playing, on cornet). Directed own shows, playing Club Alabam NYC with The Lovie Austin Revue '26; settled in Chicago and led the band at the Monogram theatre for 20 years. As house pianist for Paramount, backing Ma Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters and others, she wrote many songs ('Graveyard Blues' recorded by Bessie Smith). After defence work during WWII she resumed theatre activities and played Jimmy Payne's Dancing School for many years; She made her last recordings on Prestige in 1961: Alberta Hunter with Lovie Austin and her Blues Serenaders.