FEATURED ARTIST / S
|'Kansas Joe' McCoy|
Memphis Minnie, vocal, guitar; Kansas Joe McCoy, vocal, guitar.
With contributions by: Charlie McCoy, guitar; and others…
Genres: Memphis Country Blues. Country Blues Guitar.
Informative booklet notes by Alan Balfour.
From this album's booklet notes:
After a gap of almost two years Memphis Minnie returned to the studio in November 1933 but this time it was as a solo artist. The session only produced four numbers of which two were commercially released. My Butcher Man, a double-entendre employing some nice 'meat cutting' imagery ("slice my pork chop, grind my sausage too" etc) and culminating in the vivid, "if anybody ask you "butcher man where you bin?", show them that long bladed knife, tell 'em you've bin butchering out in that slaughter pen" was coupled with the outstanding, Too Late, a blues that in structure and attack owed more to Mississippi than Memphis or Chicago, the superb guitar accompaniment so reminiscent of Mattie Delaney. Four months later, in March 1934, she returned to record a further two titles, Stinging Snake Blues and Drunken Barrel House, again without Joe McCoy.
The reasons behind McCoy's disappearance from the recording scene have never been explained, though artists who knew the couple reported that Joe couldn't come to terms with Minnie's success and as such was putting a strain on the marriage. However, they must have resolved their problems because in August 1934 they signed to the newly formed Decca label. The company policy was to undercut existing race labels by pricing all records at 35 cents. This was justified by maintaining that corresponding cuts in overheads would be achieved by keeping as many recordings as possible to a single take. In practice though this seldom happened as the two takes of Keep It To Yourself prove. It was in this climate that Minnie and Joe came to record their initial sessions for Decca and over a two month period they cut a mixture of duets and solo items. The reconciliation, however, was short lived and following their last recording, the magnificent if slightly prophetic, Moanin' The Blues, they parted permanently.
Ironically the split was to coincide with a shift in the tastes of black record buyers who were demanding less traditional sounds and more 'swing'. Joe McCoy forged a career for himself under his own name, finally teaming up with the Harlem Hamfats and Minnie embarked upon a very busy recording career which will be covered by further discs in this series.