Lillian Glinn (c. 1902 unknown) was an
American classic female blues and country blues singer and songwriter. She
spent most of her career in black vaudeville. Her most popular recordings
were "Black Man Blues," "Doggin' Me Blues" and "Atlanta Blues." The blues
historian, Paul Oliver, commented that there a number of women blues singers
who "deserve far greater recognition than they have had" and that one such
was Lillian Glinn.
Glinn was born in Hillsboro, Texas, United States, and later moved to
She was first noticed singing spirituals in church by her future fellow
performer Hattie Burleson. Under Burleson's guidance, Glinn became
successful in vaudeville, and by 1927 was signed to a recording contract by
Columbia. Glinn took part in six separate recording sessions in a two year
period up to 1929. She recorded a total of twenty-two tracks. Her speciality
was singing slow blues ballads utilising her rich and heavy contralto voice.
Her songs concentrated on the harsher side of life and sometimes included
sexual innuendo. Her recordings gained her national recognition, and
included her April 1928 recording of "Shake It Down". Her sessions took
place variously in New Orleans and Atlanta, as well as her home base of
The author and researcher, David Evans, noted that "it is quite likely that
many of Lillian Glinn's blues without any listed composer were her own
material. If so, she would be the exception among Columbia's female blues
singers", he concluded.
Following this period of activity, Glinn retreated back to church based
life, and moved to California where she married the Rev. O.P. Smith. Her
future became distant from her previous professional career.
Her entire recorded work was made available in 1994 by Document Records.
The date and place of her death and all other whereabouts remain unknown,
although she was interviewed and photographed by Paul Oliver in 1971.