Born Lizzie Douglas in 1897 (died 1973), a tough lady, Memphis Minnie had to fight vigorously to make her niche in a men's world and establish herself as one of the greatest blues artists of all times.
Raised in Walls, Miss., she learned to play banjo and guitar and moved, alone, to Memphis in 1910 (at age 13!). She played on the streets and toured the South with medicine shows and circuses and lived with Casey Bill Weldon, who tutored her.
In 1929, she married guitarist "Kansas" Joe McCoy, with whom she formed a marvelous, inventive duo with a rural flavor. She recorded some masterpieces of guitar playing ("Hoodoo Lady"), and her style became more urbanized. She kept evolving, and in 1938 formed a duo with her new lover, guitarist Ernest "Little Son Joe" Lawlars, whose compositions ("Digging My Potatoes," "Me and My Chauffeur," "I'm So Glad") and delicate accompaniment combined with stunning guitar interplay helped to increase Minnie's popularity and success ("In My Girlish Days").
In the late 1940s and early 1950s she tried several comebacks, but asthma and new trends in African-American music forced her to retire in Memphis in 1957.
Memphis Minnie will remain one of the most influential blues personalities, a powerful vocalist, prolific composer and outstanding guitar stylist with a legacy of more than 250 recordings, some of which are still widely performed by contemporary artists.
"Early Rhythm & Blues 1949" contains 16 tracks and almost 40-minutes of the istory of roots and blues music, and is a must for the avid CD collector.
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