But perhaps the most significant recording was “That Thing Called Love” by Mamie Smith in 1920, the first ever by a black blues singer. The success of Mamie Smith led to Okeh’s 8000 series which ran until 1932. In 1953, Okeh became an exclusive R&B label and it is the ensuing decade of recordings that form the focus of our collection, from Titus Turner’s raucous “Big Mary” in ’53 to Gerald Sims’ laid back “Cool Breeze” in ’62.
Many of these recordings are reissued here for the first time and together showcase the very best of Okeh’s R&B years. Available in store and online.