On October 9, 2012 blues 'n' roots singer Maria Muldaur and Stony Plain Records will pay tribute to an influential early female blues legend with the release of ...First Came Memphis Minnie, a collection of Memphis Minnie songs interpreted by Muldaur and friends. Produced by Muldaur, the singer's 40th album includes several previously-released tracks from a pair of Muldaur's Grammy® Award nominated albums as well as new recordings from artists like Rory Block, Ruthie Foster, and Bonnie Raitt.
The album also includes two older tracks - Koko Taylor's take on Minnie's "Black Rat Swing" from her 2007 Old School album and Phoebe Snow's reading of "In My Girlish Days" from her 1976 album It Looks Like Snow. Guest musicians appearing on the album include David Bromberg, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Roy Rogers, Steve James, and Steve Freund.
For Muldaur, ...First Came Memphis Minnie is a labor of love, the acoustic blueswoman a major influence on Muldaur's lengthy and prolific career. "While many female classic blues artists in the '20s and '30s (Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Sippie Wallace, Victoria Spivey, etc.) sang accompanied by the likes of Louis Armstrong and other New Orleans-style jazz musicians, with bands that featured horns and piano, Memphis Minnie accompanied herself with a raw rhythmic guitar sound that came to be known as 'country blues'," says Muldaur, in a press release for the album.
An innovative and influential singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Memphis Minnie inspired Muldaur as both an artist and as a strong female role model. "She was tough, determined, talented, and courageous enough to defy and overcome all the racial, social, economic, and gender barriers that existed in her time, forging the life she envisioned for herself on nothing but her own terms!" says Muldaur. Naturally, Muldaur will be touring with her Red Hot Bluesiana Band in support of ...First Came Memphis Minnie, the singer performing material from the new album as well as her Blues Award-nominated 2011 CD Steady Love.
Related content: Maria Muldaur - Steady Love CD review
Photo courtesy Stony Plain Records