March 4th, 2009

pick poor robin clean

“If Geeshie Wiley did not exist, she could not be invented: her scope and creativity dwarfs most blues artists. She seems to represent the moment when black secular music was coalescing into blues.”-don kent

and this from only 3 recorded 78's in the 1930s. nothing much reliable is known about geeshie wiley, not even her legal name( geeshie was a common nickname around the coast of georgia and thereabouts). collectors are rabid about her and for very good reason- she's a fairly amazing guitar player- able to convey a vast reservoir of emotion with the instrument-and her vocal delivery is wrenching. 'last kind words' might be one of the most powerful and moving songs i have ever heard. it's a miracle it was recorded at all and a great sin that a few meagre sides is all we have of her .

you can download some of her songs here:

but you have to download last kind words-the guitar work stunned me- it's so evocative and innovative. geeshie wiley was a phenomenal blues player, criminally overlooked.

geeshie may or may not have been married to one of memphis minnie's husbands at one point. minnie was an extremely popular performer with a large recorded output which was unusual for a black blues women of the times. she was among the first to go electric and cowrote ' when the levee breaks'( another massive devastating flood happened in new orleans in the late 20s. a levee was blown up and it took out an entire poor black section of the city. hundreds of thousands were left homeless and hundreds died. it is a popular topic of blues songs of the era)- better known as a led zeppelin cover. despite her popularity by the 50s interest in country blues had subsided and minnie retired. she was buried without a tombstone which was later supplied by bonnie raitt.

try to find black cat blues-favorite of pussies everywhere.