Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Memphis Minnie

Memphis Minnie was born Lizzie Douglas on june, 1897, in Algiers, Louisiana. It all strated when seven-year-old Lizzie Douglas was given a guitar. This was her tool of choice for the next 40 years as she blazed a Blues trail as one of the first popular female Blues recording artists of the 20th century.

Taking the name Memphis Minnie during her time in the city in the 1920's, she played in jug bands, sang Gospel, and played Blues and on Beale Street. She would start her recording career here with the hit Bumble Bee, a song that went on to become a Chicago Blues standard. She collaborated and lived with guitarist Kansas Joe McCoy at this time, and after they parted, she would have a guitarist/partner by her side for the rest of her career.

Memphis Minnie's guitar abilities were a rare for her time. Most women performers then were in Vaudeville, and were just vocalists, Minnie was the Bonnie Raitt of her time, great voice, great guitar, great songs, and and very popular. She was also one of the first to pick up an electric guitar, ushering in the ere that spawned Rock & Roll. Minnie wrote, or co-wrote many of her hits with her three musician husbands, McCoy, Ernest "Little Son Joe" Lawlars, and Casey Bill Weldon.

A link between the Country Blues of the 1920's and '30's and the post-war electric Blues, Lizzie created her own musical world that has gone on to become a common denominator in most of today's music. Minnie suffered a career-ending stroke in 1961 and was confined to nursing homes back home in Memphis until her death in 1973. MP3: When The Levee Breaks - Where Is My Good Man At ?


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