Blues singer Sippie Wallace was a sensational and well-known music entertainer. She was born Beulah Belle Thomas, on November 1, 1898, in Plum Bayou, Arkansas to a Baptist deacon. She was given the name “Sippie” because her teeth were so far apart she had to sip everything. She sang and played piano in church as a young child and before her teenage years she was performing with pianist Hershal Thomas.
Wallace was married twice and spent time in New Orleans. She later moved with her family to Houston and began working with Madame Dante, a snake dancer in a reptile show. Around 1917, she began performing at parties, dances, and picnics. She was then known as the “Texas Nightingale.”
Sippie wrote most of her songs. In 1923, she recorded “Shorty George” and “Up the Country Blues” for Okeh Records. She quickly became one of the most popular blues singers in the country, famous for her weighty, rhythm style boasting of Chicago and southwestern influences. Wallace recorded many songs including, “Special Delivery Blues” and “Jack o’ Diamond Blues,” and “I’m a Mighty Tight Woman.” Wallace ranked with Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, and Bessie Smith.
During the Great Depression Wallace went back to singing in the church. From 1929 to 1970, she was the organist of the Leland Baptist Church in Detroit. She began singing blues again with great response in 1966. Wallace died in 1986.