Memphis Minnie / June 3, 1897 - Aug 6, 1973

A birthday shout-out to one of the early female blues stars, Memphis Minnie. Guitarist, banjo player, singer, composer and a tobacco-chewing lady, she was born in Louisiana and spent her early years outside of Memphis. At 13 she was busking and turning tricks on Beale Street and for a while she joined the circus.

Starting around '29 she recorded for a host of labels, including Columbia, Vocalion, Decca, Bluebird, Okeh and Checker, having a hit with "Bumble Bee". She found herself in Chicago by the mid '30s, winning cutting contests and working as a session musician. She often recorded with her various husbands.

After switching to electric guitar she had her biggest hit in '41 with "Me And My Chauffeur Blues". She retired after a series of strokes in the late '50s. Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin covered her tunes. A tough customer, she was an independent spirit, a proto-feminist and a general all around badass.

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