Sara Martin is mostly identified as being a pioneer gospel singer who worked with Thomas Dorsey (Once known as "Georgia Tom" a blues pianist  (who I believed performed regularly with "Tampa Red?") and later referred to as "The Father of Gospel Music;" He is the writer of one of the most popular gospel songs of all times "Precious Lord.").  Like Mr. Dorsey, Sara started her career in the blues.

Born in Louisville, KY to William Dunn and Katie Pope in 1884, Sara eventually moved north to form her own singing act working the vaudeville circuit outside  of Chicago, IL.

In 1922, she toured with Fats Waller (of "Ain't Misbehavin'" fame) on the T.O.B.A. circuit (sarcastically and humorously referred to as being the "Tough On Black As--" circuit), toured together and wowed the mostly black and southern audiences. In 1923 she toured with the W.C. Handy Band and worked extensively  throughout the South, Mid-West and Texas. She recorded on the Okeh and Columbia labels.

Sara was also an accomplished musical theatre performer, appearing in 1927 with Eva Taylor in the musical comedy BOTTOM LAND at the Savoy Theatre in Atlantic City, NJ.  The same year she appeared in the film HELLO BILL and toured in William Benbow's GET HAPPY FOLLIES Revue working theatres in Cuba and Jamaica.

Some of her songs include: " Can't Find Nobody to Do Like My Daddy," Good Bye Blues," "Sad and Sorrow Blues," "I'm Gonna Hoodoo You,"  " It's Too Late Now To Get Your Baby Back," "What More Can A Monkey Woman Do?" and many many more.

By 1931, Sara worked mostly with Thomas Dorsey in local church/gospel activities in Chicago, IL.

From 1932 on, Ms. Martin worked mostly outside of music in New York City. Later in her life, into the 1940's, she owned and operated a private nursing home back in her hometown of Louisville, KY.  Sara Martin died of a stroke in 1955.

During her career in the blues, she was billed as "The Blues Sensation From the West."  Brian Rust (Swaggie album S-1240) calls her "one of the more dramatic of blues artists."   Whether singing blues or gospel music, Sara knew how to take control of the stage!

Lea Gilmore

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