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Barnes, Fae [Maggie Jones] (ca. 1900–unknown)

James Head Biography Entry

Maggie Jones, pianist and vocalist, was born Fae Barnes in Hillsboro, Texas, around 1900. The daughter of sharecroppers, she moved in the early 1920s to New York City, where she began to perform in local clubs. Billed as the "Texas Nightingale," she also worked a circuit of traveling shows for the Theater Owners Booking Association, including performances at the Princess Theater in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On July 26, 1923, she became one of the earliest female Texas singers to record a song. She recorded two more sides in August and followed those with two more cuts the following month. She continued to record blues for various labels, including Black Swan, Victor, Pathé, and Paramount. Some of her best-known songs are "Undertaker's Blues," "Single Woman's Blues," and "Northbound Blues."

She recorded with several musical legends between 1924 and 1926, including Louis Armstrong, Fletcher Henderson, and Charlie Green, and participated in a touring review in 1928–29. She was frequently forced to earn her living outside the world of music, however, and operated a dress store in New York for a time. In the early 1930s she moved to Dallas and formed her own revue, which performed at such spots as the All-American Cabaret in Fort Worth. In the mid-1930s she disappeared from the music scene and from the written record.

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Virginia L. Grattan, American Women Songwriters: A Biographical Dictionary (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993). Sheldon Harris, Blues Who's Who (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1979). Colin Larkin, ed., The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (New York: Guinness, 1998).

Categories:

  • Music
  • Genres (Blues)
  • Women
  • Peoples
  • African Americans

Time Periods:

  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s

Places:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James Head, “Barnes, Fae [Maggie Jones],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 31, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/barnes-fae-maggie-jones.

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November 21, 2006
October 5, 2020

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