VICTORIA SPIVEY.
1906 - 1976.


Roosevelt Sykes.Back ArrowFirst pageBlues StoryBlues ListNext ArrowBukka White.

Victoria Spivey is born on 15 October 1906 in Houston, Texas.

In 1925 blues singer Ida Cox visits Houston, hears Victoria singing and there is talk of the teenager joining Cox's troupe. However, the show leaves town without her and Victoria, who by now has developed a taste for singing and performing in Houston's gambling joints, is deeply disappointed. The following years she travels to St. Louis and makes her recording debut on the OKeh record label with 'Black Snake Blues'. She makes further recordings for OKeh in 1927, including 'T-B Blues'.

Backed by Henry 'Red' Allen and the Luis Russell orchestra, Victoria records some classic blues for the Victor record label in 1929. She also appears in the movie Hallelujah.

She sings with the big band Hunter's Serenaders in 1931, which includes trumpeter Reuben Floyd, her husband since 1929.

Victoria signs for the Decca record label in 1936 and alters her style to fit in with prevailing fashions. The following year she works with Louis Armstrong whom she first met and played along side in the 1920's.

Along with her second husband the dancer Billy Adams, Victoria appears in the revue Hellzapoppin' in 1940. The husband and wife duo will spend the next decade playing at prestigious venues across the USA. But in the early 1950's they slit up and Victoria cuts back heavily on her musical commitments.

Victoria emerges from semi-retirement in 1960 to play some dates in New York jazz clubs. In 1961 she records tracks for albums with Lonnie Johnson, Alberta Hunter and Lucille Hegamin.

In 1962 Victoria starts her own record company. The first release on the Spivey record label is A Basket of Blues, which features appearances by Lucille Hegamin and Hannah Sylvester, a fellow blues diva, in 1963 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival, Victoria tours Europe.

Victoria's album Three Kings and the Queen is released in 1964 and features appearances by Big Joe Williams and Bob Dylan.

Along with Sippie Wallace, Victoria plays at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in 1973.

Victoria Spivey dies in a New York hospital on 3 October 1976.


View Large Picture.

Victoria Spivey.


If you prefer you can send a private email to John or Jules.


To the Top