Released for public consumption in 1995, Indigo's Bumble Bee samples the first 12 years of Memphis Minnie's recording career. Born in Algiers, LA in 1897, this potently precocious individual arrived in Memphis as a 13-year-old runaway and quickly established herself there as a live performer with decidedly adult sensibilities. Bumble Bee picks up the thread with the earthy, rural blues records she made in 1929 and traces her development through the year 1941. This survey mainly focuses upon her collaborations with guitarist, vocalist, and violinist Kansas Joe McCoy, one of her three husbands, and closes with three examples from her later work with husband number three, Ernest Little Son Joe Lawlers, who operated fiddle, guitar, and string bass with equal facility. Other legendary blues heroes heard on this collection are pianists Alfred Elkins, Jimmie Gordon and Black Bob Hudson. McCoy, who also worked with the Harlem Hamfats, was a good match for Minnie in performance, as they ground out rhythmic patterns on their guitars while exchanging gruffly humorous remarks, maintaining a running commentary that is guaranteed to dispel any pretentious or uptight notions among the listeners. This is the music of gut-level honesty and hard-won good times. It will prove useful for working, traveling, playing, partying, or goofing off.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf