Wednesday, June 03, 2009

It's The Birthday of Memphis Minnie

Queen of Country Blues 1929-1937
Memphis Minnie - Queen of Country Blues 1929-1937
Memphis Minnie was born on June 3, 1897 in Algiers, Louisiana, and she died August 6, 1973 in Memphis, Tennessee. She was an American Blues guitarist, vocalist, and composer of considerable talent. I don't think I can recommend a blues musician more favorably! I find her music and her life story fascinating, like many females coming up in the blues world she is often over looked.

According to Wikipedia;

Born Lizzie Douglas in Algiers, Louisiana, Minnie was one of the most influential and pioneering female blues musicians and guitarists of all time. She recorded for forty years, almost unheard of for any woman in show business at the time and possibly unique among female blues artists. A flamboyant character who wore bracelets made of silver dollars, she was the biggest female blues singer from the early Depression years through World War II. One of the first blues artists to take up the electric guitar, in 1942, she combined her Louisiana-country roots with Memphis blues to produce her own unique country-blues sound; along with Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red, she took country blues into electric urban blues, paving the way for giants like Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Little Walter, and Jimmy Rogers to travel from the small towns of the south to the big cities of the north.

After learning to play guitar and banjo as a child, she ran away from home at the age of thirteen. She travelled to Memphis, Tennessee, playing guitar in nightclubs and on the street as Lizzie "Kid" Douglas. The next year, she joined the Ringling Brothers circus. Her marriage and recording debut came in 1929, to and with Kansas Joe McCoy, when a Columbia Records talent scout heard them playing in a Beale Street barbershop in their distinctive "Memphis style," and their song "Bumble Bee" became a hit. In the 1930s she moved to Chicago, Illinois with Joe. She and McCoy broke up in 1935, and by 1939 she was with Little Son Joe Lawlers, with whom she recorded nearly 200 records. In the 1940s she formed a touring Vaudeville company. From the 1950s on, however, public interest in her music declined, and in 1957 she and Lawlers returned to Memphis. Lawlers died in 1961.

Memphis Minnie @Amazon.com

Memphis Minnie @SqueezeMyLemon

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