Memphis Minnie

Memphis Minnie (* June 3, 1897 Algiers, Louisiana; † August 8, 1973 in Memphis, Tennessee; actually Lizzie Douglas ) was an American musician Blue.


Childhood and first recordings

She was born one of 18 children in Algiers on the other side of the river from New Orleans. In 1904 her family moved to Walls near Memphis. A year later received Minnie, who still wore the nickname Kid Douglas at this time, her first guitar for Christmas. At 20 she went with her boyfriend Willie Brown on in the area. In 1929 she made together with Joe McCoy, her then-boyfriend, made ​​her first recording. In the next five years they took on more plates. There they used Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie as a pseudonym.


1933 both moved to Chicago, where they still took up some pieces together. Since Minnie has often alone made ​​recordings at this time and it succeeded Joe at the same time, to solve more and more out of the shadows, it came in 1934 to their last joint recording and for separation. Gradually Minnie began to establish themselves in Chicago. She played with changing partners a number of pieces until they at Little Son Joe met in 1939, with whom she played from that date. He also appeared on all their records up to her death as a composer. This is unusual in that he was up to that time never entered appears a composer and Minnie had previously composes her own songs.

During this time, Minnie and Son Joe was a regular guest at the 708 Club on East 47th Street in Chicago. Known from this period are also their Monday parties in the Gatewood 's Tavern, where they were unknown fellow an opportunity to perform. They also took, if an equal in her eyes Musicians occurred in talent competitions, which she also won with regularity. It is known that she once Muddy Waters challenged for a glass of whiskey.

Return to Memphis and career retreat

In the 1940s, they are constantly shuttling between Chicago and Memphis back and forth, but also short lived once in Indianapolis and Maryland. In 1953, Minnie made ​​her last commercial recording for JOB Records with pianist Little Brother Montgomery, but still went to 1955 on a regular basis. In 1958 she returned with Son Joe back together to Memphis. There she appeared still frequently and also gave start for many a younger colleague, she gave useful tips. At this time she was already financially so badly that she had to live on welfare. In 1960 she suffered a stroke, was from this time confined to a wheelchair and eventually had to a nursing home. There, too, she was still regularly visited by her fans. Son Joe died in 1961.

Memphis Minnie died on 6 August 1973.

Find out more

  • Memphis Minnie occurred at a time when the musicians the blues still regarded as mere men. In order to prevail in this time, their only chance was to still male to give than their male counterparts. She swore, drank, smoked, played cards and beat up. It is narrated that she has beaten her partner Little Son Joe once before the eyes of the audience on stage.
  • She was one of the first female musicians who used an electric guitar.
  • She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.


  • Complete Recorded Works 1935-1941 In Chronological Order, Vol # 3: 6/9/37-12/15/37 (1991 )
  • Complete Recorded Works, Vol 1 (1935-1941) (1991 )
  • Complete Recorded Works, Vol 2 (1930-1931) (1991 )
  • Complete Recorded Works, Vol 2 (1935-1941) (1991 )
  • Complete Recorded Works, Vol 3 (1931-1932) (1991 )
  • Complete Recorded Works, Vol 4 (1933-1934) (1991 )
  • Complete Recorded Works, Vol 5 (1935-1941) (1991 )
  • Early Rhythm & Blues From The Rare Regal Sessions: 1934-1942 (1992 )
  • 1949-1953, Vol 3 (1994 )
  • Volume 1 (1944-1946) (1998)
  • Volume 2 (1946-1947) (1998)
  • Black Widow Stinger: Essential ( 1999)
  • Blues: Queen Of The Blues: 1929-1941 (2002)
  • Hoodoo Lady ( 2008)
  • Queen Of Country Blues 1929-1937 (2003) Box Set
  • Queen Of The Delta Blues, Vol 2 (2005)
  • Vol 4 [ 1933-34 ] by Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe (2006)
  • Crazy Crying Blues ( 2007)
  • Early Rhythm & Blues from 1949 The Rare Regal Recordings (2007)
  • Vol 2 1946-47 Complete Records of Memphis Minnie (2007)
  • The Blues 1929-1941 (2008)
  • Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe 1 (2008)
  • Columbia Original Masters (2008)
  • All the Published Sides (2009)
  • The Essential Recordings (2010)
  • Jazz Heritage: Moaning the Blues
  • Travelling Blues
  • With Kansas Joe
  • Blues musicians
  • Blues Hall of Fame
  • American musician
  • Born 1897
  • Died in 1973
  • Woman