You may not know her name, but if you know the blues on Beale Street, you know Hattie Hart. Remembered now for her work with the Memphis Jug Band in the 1920s. She was known then for her big voice and wild parties. A bawdy babe, with a high vibrato she could tackle aches of pain as well as yowls of pleasure in a single note.
Hattie wasn’t just a vocalist—she wrote songs too. Her favorite topics were love and sex, voodoo and drugs. And that led to some of the Memphis Jug Band’s most beloved tracks.
Hattie was one of the most popular singers in 1920’s Memphis. But then the Depression hit. The blues moved to Chicago. So did Hattie. And we lost track of her there. She dropped out of music, and off most folk’s radar. Not mine.
Here she is, with the Memphis Jug Band. The magic of Hattie Hart. Honey take a whiff on me…
Hattie Hart was a Memphis blues singer and songwriter. Born in Memphis around 1900. Well known for singing on Beale Street with various performers, she was just as famous at the time for hosting wild parties. Her first recording was her song “Won’t You Be Kind,” from 1928 with the Memphis Jug Band. She’s best known for her tracks with the Memphis Jug Band, recorded between 1928 and 1930, and’s especially lauded for her performance on “Cocaine Habit Blues.” In 1934, she took on her own recording session with Allen Shaw, waxing a number of songs, 4 of which were released on Vocalion.
Hattie moved to Chicago, where it’s believed she may have recorded under the name Hattie Bolten. Nothing more is known of her after that.