Monday Blues (9.1.14)

Lizzie Douglas (June 3, 1897 – August 3, 1973)–better known as “Memphis Minnie”–was raised in the South. Born in Louisiana, her family moved to Mississippi and then Shelby County, Tennessee, all before the young Lizzie had reached her teen years. At 13, she ran away to Memphis, where she became a street performer. At various times she earned money as a circus act (she toured with the Ringling Brothers Circus), a musician, and a prostitute.

In her early 30s, she and her husband Kansas Joy McCoy were discovered, beginning her professional recording career. A few years later she settled in Chicago, where her experimental, hybrid style took root.

Known for songs like “Bumble Bee” and “Me and My Chauffeur Blues,” Minnie was one of the first woman singer/guitarists to ever reach fame. She was an influential figure, and commanded a unique style of blues.

“Kissing in the Dark” (1953) is one of Minnie’s later releases, a thinly-veiled song about sexually transmitted diseases.

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