The second volume in Document’s series of Complete Recorded Works, covering Memphis Minnie, includes a few classic performances, like “Ice Man (Come on Up)” and “New Orleans Stop Time” (the latter finding her co-billed with Bumble Bee Slim). Still, casual fans will find the disc a mixed blessing; the lengthy running time and poor fidelity will prompt many listeners to look elsewhere.
Born: June 3, 1897 in Algiers, LA
Years Active: ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s
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…