First Came Memphis Minnie, Stony Plain ***
Memphis Minnie was an extraordinary character who helped blaze a trail for female blues musicians. Born in Algiers, Louisiana, in 1897, the young Lizzie “Kid” Douglas was clearly precocious and wild, teaching herself to play guitar and banjo before running away at 13 for a life on the road. At her peak between 1929 and 1949, Douglas recorded a string of gems such as Me and My Chauffeur Blues, In My Girlish Days and Black Rat Swing. They were hard times, but Lizzie’s independent spirit was her strength, a quality that young Maria Muldaur recognised when she first heard her music in the 1960s. Now joined by other blueswomen (Bonnie Raitt, Rory Block, Ruthie Foster, Koko Taylor and the late Phoebe Snow), Muldaur has finally got around to paying tribute to her greatest influence. Good stuff, but check out the originals.
Download: Me and My Chauffeur Blues, Black Rat Swing