Mama Estella YANCEY 1983

Estella Harris, 1 January 1896, Cairo, Illinois, USA, d. 19 April 1986, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Raised in Chicago, the young Estella took an early interest in music by singing in church and learning to play the guitar. She married pianist Jimmy Yancey in 1919 and over the next two decades frequently sang with him at informal parties. Yancey first recorded with her husband for Session in December 1943; "Make Me A Pallet On The Floor" became her virtual signature tune thereafter. They recorded a long session for Atlantic Records in July 1951, just two months before Jimmy Yancey's death. Mama Yancey more or less retired from music after that but was persuaded to make the occasional appearance and recording session. South Side Blues and, to a lesser extent, Mama Yancey Sings, were the last occasions when her bellowing church-based singing style was heard at its best. Her last album, Maybe I'll Cry, was recorded when she was 87 years old, three years before her death.

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