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 Rosetta Howard <I>Maxey</I> Armstrong

Rosetta Howard Maxey Armstrong

Woodruff County, Arkansas, USA
Death 8 Oct 1974 (aged 61)
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Burial Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Plot Section 8 Lot 280 Grave 6
Memorial ID 146056197 · View Source
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Rosetta Howard was an American blues singer in Chicago who recorded during the 1930s and 1940s. She is sometimes thought of as a classic blues singer but actually came up during a slightly later era, crossing the genres between blues and swing.

Rosetta Maxey was born in Woodruff County, Arkansas, 30 August 1913, one of three children (Leroy, Rosetta and Earnest) of John Maxey and Addie Bridges. By 1920 her mother had remarried to William Aaron and the family was living in Point, Woodruff County. About 1928 Rosetta married at age 15 to ______ Howard and by 1930 along with her mother, two brothers, and sister-in-law Carrie had moved to the south Chicago area of Bremen Township (Robbins), living on Ridgeway Ave around 139th Street.

Howard began her career by joining in with jukebox selections at the club where she worked and subsequently singing professionally starting in 1932 in Chicago with
clarinetist Jimmie Noone and other bandleaders throughout the 1930s and with the Harlem Hamfats and individually with Herb Morand and Odell Rand.

Beginning in 1937 through 1939 and 1947 she recorded 40 selections including those with the Harlem Hamfats that included her ode to marijuana, "If You're a Viper", and the risqué "Let Your Linen Hang Low".

In 1939 she recorded two sessions, one with the Harlem Blues Serenaders, which included Charlie Shavers, Buster Bailey and Lil Armstrong and one with a quintet that features Henry "Red" Allen and Barney Bigard.

She continued to perform in Chicago during the 1940s with a variety of musicians including clarinetist Jimmie Noone. In 1947 she was featured on twelve recordings with Chicago blues stars of the period with The Big Three Trio and including bassist Willie Dixon and guitarist Big Bill Broonzy. The records did not sell well (some were not issued at the time) and she never recorded again.

In the 1950s she worked in the religious field, singing with with the noted "father of black gospel music" Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993) at the Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago.

Later identified in some records as Rosetta Howard Armstrong, she died in Chicago at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital 8 October 1974 at the age of 61.




  • Created by: Neal Underwood
  • Added: 4 May 2015
  • Find A Grave Memorial 146056197
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rosetta Howard Maxey Armstrong (30 Aug 1913–8 Oct 1974), Find A Grave Memorial no. 146056197, citing Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Neal Underwood (contributor 47580240) .