Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1205

Its Roots Week on Ranch Radio.  You've heard What's A Matter With The Mill by Bob Wills.  Well here's the original 1930 recording by Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe, and the tune was written by Kansas Joe (Joe McCoy).  Some say the song has a sexual innuendo, i.e. "can't get no grinding" isn't about corn meal.  Here's some info on each artist.

Artist Biography by Barry Lee Pearson - Tracking down the ultimate woman blues guitar hero is problematic because woman blues singers seldom recorded as guitar players and woman guitar players (such as Rosetta Tharpe and Sister O.M. Terrell) were seldom recorded playing blues. Excluding contemporary artists, the most notable exception to this pattern was Memphis Minnie. The most popular and prolific blueswoman outside the vaudeville tradition, she earned the respect of critics, the support of record-buying fans, and the unqualified praise of the blues artists she worked with throughout her long career. Despite her Southern roots and popularity, she was as much a Chicago blues artist as anyone in her day. Big Bill Broonzy recalls her beating both him and Tampa Red in a guitar contest and claims she was the best woman guitarist he had ever heard. Tough enough to endure in a hard business, she earned the respect of her peers with her solid musicianship and recorded good blues over four decades for Columbia, Vocalion, Bluebird, OKeh, Regal, Checker, and JOB. She also proved to have as good taste in musical husbands as music and sustained working marriages with guitarists Casey Bill Weldon, Joe McCoy, and Ernest Lawlars. Their guitar duets span the spectrum of African-American folk and popular music, including spirituals, comic dialogs, and old-time dance pieces, but Memphis Minnie's best work consisted of deep blues like "Moaning the Blues." More than a good woman blues guitarist and singer, Memphis Minnie holds her own against the best blues artists of her time, and her work has special resonance for today's aspiring guitarists.

Artist Biography by Jason Ankeny - Alongside his younger brother Charlie, Joe McCoy is enshrined among the greatest sidemen in blues history, his Spartan slide style most notably preserved on the landmark recordings of his wife Memphis Minnie. Born in May 11, 1905 in Jackson, MS, he was primarily known as Kansas Joe McCoy, but his laundry list of aliases includes appearances as the Hillbilly Plowboy, Mud Dauber Joe, Hamfoot Ham, the Georgia Pine Boy, and Hallelujah Joe. A self-taught player, he relocated to Memphis during the mid-'20s, joining Jed Davenport's Beale Street Jug Band and meeting Memphis Minnie. McCoy later became her second husband, and during their six-year marriage accompanied her on such country blues classics as "Bumble Bee" and "When the Levee Breaks"; the couple migrated to Chicago in 1930, where -- in the company of notables like Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red -- they helped modernize the country blues sound to fit more comfortably into their new urban surroundings. With his eloquent, inventive guitar work and deep vocals, McCoy could well have risen to stardom in his own right, but he appeared to prefer his sideman role, and after his divorce from Minnie he and sibling Charlie formed the Harlem Hamfats, recording regularly between 1936 and 1939. Upon the group's demise, he founded Big Joe & His Washboard Band, which evolved into Big Joe & His Rhythm during the mid-1940s. McCoy died on January 28, 1950.


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