LIZZIE DOUGLAS.

( Memphis Minnie ) 1897 - 1973.


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Lizzie is born in Algiers, Louisiana, on 3 June 1897, the Douglas family move to Wallis, Mississippi in 1904 and the following year Lizzie receives her first guitar as a Christmas present.

By 1917 she is a well known figure in Memphis, through playing her music in its streets and at house parties.

Now known as Memphis Minnie, she makes her recording debut in 1929 with Joe McCoy, for the Columbia record label.

Over the next few years, the duo, who are romantically as well as musically linked, will make a host of records, mostly for the Vocalion record label. 'Bumble Bee' / 'I'm Talking About You', by Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie is a good seller for Vocalion but the connection with Vocalion ends in 1932, the following year they move to Chicago.

They cut some sides for Decca both as a duo and on their own. But their relationship is soon to end and this is to be the year in which they will record together.

In 1939 having resumed her recording career with Vocalion, and while constantly on the move between Chicago and the South, Minnie finds a new lover and musical partner, Little Son Joe. During the next couple of years, Minnie and Little Son Joe record some of their most enduring work, including 'Nothing in Rambling' and 'Me and My Chauffeur Blues'.

Three years on, Minnie remains a highly popular performer in the clubs of Chicago.

'Kidman Blues' is released in 1949 as Minnie's first recording for the Regal label but it is an unsuccessful blend of old and new musical styles.

'Kissing in the Dark' / 'World of Trouble', release in 1953 on the JOB label, is a triumph. But it is to be Minnie's final commercial release after 24 years in the recording business.

She plays at a memorial concert for Big Bill Broonzy in 1958. Minnie and Little Son Joe quit Chicago for Memphis where Minnie encourages youger blues musicians and broadcasts on local radio stations.

Having been wheelchair-bound since suffering a stroke in 1960, Memphis Minnie dies in Memphis on 6 August 1973.


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