Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Memphis Minnie Vol 5 1940 - 1941

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Little Son Joe
Memphis Minnie


Memphis Minnie
01 - Lonesome shack blues Listen
02 - Nothing in rambling Listen
03 - Boy friend blues Listen
04 - Finger print blues Listen
05 - It`s hard to please my man Listen
06 - Ma Rainey Listen
07 - In my girlish days Listen
08 - Me and my chauffeur blues Listen
09 - Down by the riverside Listen
10 - I got to make a change blues Listen
11 - Pig meat on the line Listen
12 - My gage is going up Listen
13 - This is your last chance Listen
14 - Can`t afford to loose my man Listen
15 - I'm not a bad gal Listen
16 - You got to get out of here Listen
17 - Don`t turn the card Listen
18 - Looking the world over Listen
19 - It was you baby Listen
20 - You need a friend Listen
21 - I am sailin` Listen
22 - Remember me blues Listen

Little Son Joe
23 - Black rat swing Listen
24 - Just had to holler Listen

Memphis Minnie; vocal, guitar.

Includes; Little Son Joe, vocal, guitar and others...

Genres: Memphis / Chicago Blues

Informative booklet notes by Howard Rye.
Detailed discography

After the long interval since their previous session Minnie and Joe’s June 1940 session is marked by a sense of commanding confidence, and notably inspired instrumental choruses.
The initially autobiographical Nothing In Rambling promotes commonsense, down to earth aspirations.

“You may go to Hollywood and try to get on screen,
But I’m goin’ to stay right here and eat these old turnip greens”

The reminiscent mood extends to the remarkable Ma Rainey, a tribute to an acknowledged influence who had died in December 1939. It is replete with the paradox of wondering in the first verse,

“where could Ma Rainey be”,

and making clear in the last that she is known to be dead:

“People, it sure look lonesome, since Ma Rainey been gone,
But she left little Minnie, to carry the goods on.”

And she does, to dramatic effect, when she returned to the studio nearly a year later. In My Girlish Days, with its account of the consequences of a youthful indiscretion, and Me And My Chauffeur, with its classic double entendres, are justly rated among her finest, but in truth they are not far above the general level. Down By The Riverside is not a return to gospel music but a wistful recollection of the simple life.
Though the emphasis is still on guitar duets with Son Joe, who plays acoustic guitar, with only bass for additional support the sound is more ‘urban’ than before and presages the ‘down-home blues’ styles of post-war Chicago. Five of the ten titles then recorded remained unissued and have become available only recently. Wartime trading conditions must have been responsible because the unissued sides are in no way inferior and in I Am Sailing include one of her most powerful efforts.
The poet Langston Hughes has left an impressionistic account of Minnie’s music a year later after this (Chicago Defender, 9th January 1943). “The electric guitar is very loud, science having magnified all its softness away... the rhythm fills the 230 Club with a deep and dusky heartbeat that overrides all modern amplification. The rhythm is as old as Memphis Minnie’s most remote ancestor... She grabs the microphone and yells “Hey now!” then she hits a few deep chords at random, leans forward ever so slightly over her guitar... and begins to beat out a good old steady down-home rhythm...” there is much more in this vein and it applies equally to the music captured on 12th December 1941.
Every title brings its own rewards, with a special mention perhaps for Don’t Turn The Card, with its elaborate series of references to fortune-telling, and for Son Joe’s two tracks, which show clearly why he was billed as ‘Mr. Memphis Minnie’.


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