In this Episode, we drop in on our New York-based sister spinoff show, DLS NYC, which returned to the KGB Bar’s Red Room after a long hiatus. DLS co-founder Florian Duijsens happened to be visiting from Berlin, and took to the stage to introduce the fabulous Memphis Minnie.
Tobacco-chewing blues singer MEMPHIS MINNIE (1897–1973) ran away from home at the age of 13 and made a living off music from then on, from street performances supplemented by prostitution to hundreds of now classic recordings. It was said she never put her guitar down until she could no longer hold it in her hands, and she was known to use it as a weapon when required. Her songs were about the joys and hardships of everyday black life; according to the poet Langston Hughes, she played “music with so much in it folks remember, that sometimes it makes them holler out loud.” Largely forgotten for many years while white men covered her songs, she is now celebrated for her huge contribution to blues music and what came after.Embed from Getty Images
Also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Acast.
You can download the transcript, created by Annie Musgrove, here.
Read more about Chicago’s gay scene at Windy City Times, and you can read Langston Hughes’ entire review on Memphis Minnie’s show here.
These videos are a great way to get into Memphis Minnie, and Florian has also made a special playlist on Spotify, but If you want to know more about Memphis Minnie, read Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie’s Blues by Paul & Beth Garon, first published just after her death, and expanded in 2014.
DLS NYC is curated and hosted by Molly O’Laughlin Kemper, and was recorded by Jennifer Nulsen, all under the auspices of the KGB Bar’s Lori Schwarz.
Our theme music is “Little Lily Swing” by Tri-Tachyon.
Thanks for listening! We’ll be back with a new episode next month.