MEMPHIS MINNIE (1930) Memphis Blues Guitar Legend

MEMPHIS MINNIE (1930) Memphis Blues Guitar Legend

Here’s a song called ” New Bumble Bee ” that was recorded in 1930
by Memphis Blues Guitar Legend MEMPHIS MINNIE.

Of course, no video on something this early but I thought worth listening to.

Here’s a Biography of Memphis Minnie:

“Born Lizzie Douglas on June 3, 1897, in Algiers, LA ( died August 6, 1973); married: Will Weldon (a.k.a. Casey Bill), circa 1920s; Joe McCoy, 1929-1934; Earnest Lawlars (a.k.a. Little Son Joe), 1939.

For nearly three decades, Memphis Minnie was one of the most influential blues artists in the United States. From the early 1920s until she retired in the mid-1950s, she released more than 180 songs, in addition to those released after her death in 1973. Minnie’s songwriting and performances thrived in a genre dominated by men. Unlike most female blues singers of the time, Minnie also wrote her own songs and played guitar. She cemented her place in blues history with such classics as “Bumble Bee,” “Hoodoo Lady,” and “I Want Something for You.” Her repertoire included country blues, urban blues, the Melrose sound, Chicago blues, and postwar blues.

Born Lizzie Douglas in Algiers, Louisiana, Memphis Minnie was the eldest of Abe and Gertrude Wells Douglas’ 13 children. Throughout her childhood, her family always called her “Kid.” When she was seven years old, the Douglas family moved to Wall, Mississippi, just south of Memphis. The following year, she received her first guitar for Christmas. She learned to play both the guitar and banjo and performed under the name Kid Douglas.

In 1910, at the age of 13, she ran away from home to live on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Throughout her teenage years, she would periodically return to her family’s farm when she ran out of money. The majority of the time, she played and sang on street corners. Her sidewalk performances eventually led to a tour of the South with the Ringling Brothers Circus.

Still performing under the name Kid Douglas, she returned to Memphis and became embroiled in the Beale Street blues scene. At the time, women were highly valued-along with whiskey and cocaine-and Beale Street was one of the first places in the country where women could perform in public. In order to survive financially, most of the female performers on Beale Street were also prostitutes, and Minnie was no exception. She received $12 for her services-an outrageous fee for the time.

Beyond the buzz she created as a performer, she also developed a reputation as a woman who could take care of herself. “Any men fool with her, she’d go for them right away,” blues guitarist/vocalist Johnny Shines told Paul and Beth Garon in Woman With Guitar. “She didn’t take no foolishness off them. Guitar, pocket-knife, pistol, anything she got her hands on, she’d use it; y’know Memphis Minnie used to be a hell-cat.”

During the 1920s, she reportedly married Will Weldon, also known as Casey Bill. However, some historians claim the two didn’t meet until their first recording sessions together in 1935 and never married. If she did marry Weldon, she had left him within the decade, and married guitarist Kansas Joe McCoy in 1929. Minnie and McCoy often performed together and were discovered by a talent scout from Columbia Records that same year. They went to New York City for their first recording sessions, and it was then that she changed her name to Memphis Minnie.

McCoy and Minnie released the single “When the Levee Breaks” backed with “That Will Be Alright,” but McCoy performed all the vocals. Two months later, they released “Frisco Town” and “Going Back to Texas.” Minnie sang alone on “Frisco Town” and sang a duet with McCoy on “Going Back to Texas.”

In 1930, Minnie released one of her favorite songs “Bumble Bee,” which led to a recording contract with the Vocalion label. Later that year, she and McCoy released “I’m Talking About You” on Vocalion. The couple continued to produce records for Vocalion for two more years, then left the label and decided to move to Chicago. It didn’t take long before Minnie and McCoy had become a part of the city’s blues scene, and they had introduced country blues into an urban environment.” Read more: Memphis Minnie Biography


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