Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe Vol 3 1931-1932
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Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe
Complete Recordings 18 June 1929 – 10 September 1934
Vol. 3: 30th January 1931 to 4th February 1932
Memphis Minnie, vocal / guitar; Kansas Joe McCoy, guitar. Memphis Minnie, vocal; Kansas Joe, guitar. Kansas Joe And Memphis Minnie, vocal duet / guitar duet. Kansas Joe And Memphis Minnie, guitar duet. Memphis Minnie, vocal; accompanied by own guitar; Joe McCoy, guitar (on 11) / mandolin (on 12). Kansas Joe, vocal / guitar; Memphis Minnie, guitar.
Genres: Blues, Memphis Blues, Tennessee Blues, Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar, Blues Mandolin, Female Blues, Bottleneck-slide Guitar, National Guitar, Guitar Duet
From this albums booklet notes: At the dawn of 1931 sales of race records were in sharp decline. Companies who six months previously had pressed in the region of 2,000 copies per record had cut that almost by half. Industry figures of the time showed that race records only accounted for about one percent of total sales, a very significant drop from the previous year. It was in this climate, and the period covered by this compilation, that Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe continued to record. A measure of the seriousness of the situation as it affected them can probably be gauged by their output; barely thirty titles recorded, at least half a dozen of which never saw release. Despite all this the quality of their recordings didn’t appear to suffer and, if anything, seemed to draw from Minnie a renewed sense of personal intensity both in lyric and playing.
The poignant, Crazy Crying Blues, with its terse lyric, ‘crying’ verse endings and moaned choruses almost echoing the blues of female singers of the twenties. The superb instrumental, Let’s Go To Town, couldn’t be better named with its rhythmic imagination and subtle tempo changes, the sheer drive of the piece creating the motion of an express train a sort of “Honky Tonk Train” with two guitars. The period also witnessed Memphis Minnie adopt the bottleneck, or slide, guitar technique which she probably learnt from her first husband, Casey Bill Weldon, as can be heard on Kansas Joe‘s Shake Mattie and My Wash Woman’s Gone, the former containing perhaps the first reference in blues to, “Shake, rattle and roll”! For reasons best known to the company they switched Memphis Minnie and Joe McCoy‘s recording location from Chicago to New York where the pair had first recorded three years earlier.
If 1931 had been short on sessions, the following year was worse with only a dozen titles recorded over a two day period during February. The material cut favoured more traditionally based themes as Jailhouse Trouble Blues, Joliet Bound (a blues by Joe concerning the notorious prison) and Fishin’ Blues, the latter a minstrel song long associated with Texas having been collected there in the early twenties by musicologist Walter Prescott Webb and first commercially recorded by songster, Henry ‘Ragtime’ Thomas.Alan Balfour Copyright 1991 Document Records