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Virginia Liston (1890-1932)
Virginia Liston (1890-1932)Virginia Liston (c. 1890 – June 1932) would most likely be barely remembered today if she had not sung on a Clarence Williams Blue Five record that featured both Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong. The record was “Early In The Morning” and “You’ve Got The Right Key, But The Wrong Keyhole” and Virginia shows that she was a pretty good blues singer.

Little is known about Liston’s early life. She reportedly was singing in vaudeville as early as 1912. In the early 1920s she was living in Washington D.C. with her husband Sam Gray and touring the T.O.B.A. vaudeville circuit with him in an act called “Liston and Liston”. The couple recorded one record together in January of 1924. They were divorced sometime around 1925. Virginia’s last recording session was in 1927 with the Clarence Williams Washboard Band, where she sang “Cushion Foot Stomp” and “P.D.Q. Blues“. Liston retired from show business in 1929 re-married and settled in St. Louis, Missouri where she reportedly died in 1932.

Virginia Liston (1890-1932)

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Any Day The Sun Don’t Shine
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
10-25-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8196-B
Bed Time Blues
Piano accompaniment by Clarence Williams

(Sam Gray / Virginia Liston)
9-18-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8092-A
Bill Draw
(Clarence Williams / Virginia Liston)
10-24-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8173-B
Black Sheep Blues 6-3-1925 New York, New York Okeh
8223-B
Don’t Agitate Me Blues
(Sam Gray / Virginia Liston)
9-15-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8151-B
Evil Minded Blues 5-29-1926 New York, New York Vocalion
1031
Happy Shout
(Sam Gray / Will B. Overstreet)
9-15-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8134-A
House Rent Stomp
(De Coven Thompson / W.H. Hendrickson)
9-24-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8134-B
I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle
(Perry Bradford)
6-1-1925 New York, New York Okeh
8234
I Ain’t Got Nobody
(Nobody Cares For Me)

(Abel Baer / Samuel Lewis / Joseph Young)
6-3-1925 New York, New York Okeh
8223
I Don’t Love Nobody
(Porter Grainger / Bob Ricketts)
1-7-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8138-B
I’m Gonna Get Me A Man That’s All
(Virginia Liston)
5-29-1926 New York, New York Vocalion
1032
I’m Sick Of Fattening Frogs For Snakes
(Perry Bradford)
6-3-1925 New York, New York Okeh
8234
I Never Knew What The Blues Were (Until You Went Away)
(Clarence Williams)
4-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8151-A
Jailhouse Blues
(Clarence Williams / Bessie Smith)
1-10-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8122
Just Take One Long Last Look
(Milt Hagen / Henry Welling / Charles O’Flynn)
1-2-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8126-A
Make Me A Pallet 6-2-1925 New York, New York Okeh
8247-A
Mississippi Blues
(Lucille Hegamin / Spencer Williams)
4-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8160-A
Monkey Jungle Blues 10-25-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8247-B
Night Latch Key Blues
(Virginia Liston)
10-25-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8196-A
Papa De Da Da
(Clarence Williams / Clarence Todd / Spencer Williams)
6-1-1925 New York, New York Okeh
8218-A
Pineland Blues
(Sidney Easton)
10-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8175-B
Rolls Royce Papa
(Virginia Liston)
5-29-1926 New York, New York Vocalion
1032
Sally Long Blues
(Virginia Liston / Sam Gray / Clarence Williams)
9-21-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8115-A
Sally Long Blues
(Virginia Liston / Sam Gray / Clarence Williams)
11-15-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8115-A
San Francisco Blues
(Thomas “Baby” Grice)
4-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8160-B
Shreveport Blues
(Annie S. Potter)
9-24-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8122-B
Titanic Blues 5-29-1926 New York, New York Vocalion
1031
‘Tain’t A Doggone Thing But The Blues
(Porter Grainger / Bob Ricketts)
1-7-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8138-A
Weeping Willow Blues
(Paul Carter)
10-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8175-A
You Can Have It (I Don’t Want It)
(A.J. Piron / Clarence Williams / May Hill)
1-2-1924 New York, New York Okeh
8126-B
You Can Dip Your Bread In My Gravy, But You Can’t Have None Of My Chops
(Fred Longshaw / Mike Jackson)
6-2-1925 New York, New York Okeh
8218-B
You Don’t Know My Mind Blues
(Virginia Liston / Sam Gray / Clarence Williams)
9-21-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8115-B
You Don’t Know My Mind Blues
(Virginia Liston / Sam Gray / Clarence Williams)
11-15-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8115-B
You Thought I Was Blind, But Now I See
Piano accompaniment by Clarence Williams

(Sam Gray / Clarence Williams / Virginia Liston)
9-18-1923 New York, New York Okeh
8092-B

Virginia Liston (1890-1932)

Artist Instrument
Sidney Bechet Clarinet
Ernest Elliot Clarinet
Porter Grainger Piano
Sam Gray Vocals, Piano
Clarence Williams Piano
Sylvester Weaver? Guitar

 

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