FEATURED ARTIST / S
|'Kansas Joe' McCoy|
Memphis Minnie, vocal, guitar; Kansas Joe McCoy, vocal, guitar.
Genres: Memphis Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar.
Informative booklet notes by Alan Balfour.
From this album's booklet notes:
This compilation represents Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe’s first encounter with the Chicago. Between June 1930 and January l931 the pair recorded on several occasions and cut several dozen titles. However, as a result of America's slide into depression, most songs took many months to release and with the exception of the coupling, "I Don't Want No Woman I Have To Give My Money To" / Cherry Ball Blues, nearly all songs recorded during June were left on the shelf. Subsequently they were issued with items from later sessions. Vocalion's follow-up release, What's The Matter With The Mill / North Memphis Blues, didn't appear until November featuring titles recorded in October, the former ostensibly about a broken down corn mill but in reality sexual innuendo and the latter, apparently in praise of the culinary delights to be found at a Memphis cafe, is thought by some commentators to concern a house of ill repute! For their third offering the company coupled remakes of previous successes, Bumble Bee No. 2 / I'm Talkin' About You No. 2 from June and July sessions – release date, January 1931!
Despite the apparently arbitrary nature of the releases the period witnessed many accomplished recordings most notably, Memphis Minnie-Jitis Blues, which she sings with great passion about meningitis, The fact that she twice recorded this number, once with the Memphis Jug Band (DOCD 5028) and again with Kansas Joe, would tend to suggest personal experience of the illness.
In general, however, this phase of their career tended to produce more traditionally based material serving to show the duo's range of experience and versatility. Songs like the horse-calling Frankie Jean (That Trottin' Fool) concerning a racehorse that wouldn't come unless whistled to, whose running motions are mimicked by their guitar interplay, or the old vaudeville number, I Called You This Morning, which employs the same melody as that used for "'Frisco Town" (DOCD 5028). The time-honoured theme, Preacher's Blues, about the sexual antics of a woman stealing pastor perhaps harks back to their acquaintance with Frank Stokes while their version of the black toast, New Dirty Dozen, usually the province of male pianists, is sung by Minnie from a female perspective ("I'm pigmeat happy, now who wants me"), the standard piano accompaniment being recreated by the two guitars.
With recordings like these Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe established themselves as an integral part of the Chicago blues scene; a scene that was growing with each black relocation from the south.