Friday, January 8, 2010
Geeshie Wiley - Last Kind Words
Incredible song with magical guitar playing. I first discovered Geeshie Wiley through a link on the White Stripes forum around 2003 and was one of the first blues musicians that I really developed an affinity for. Well worth investigating.
"Geeshie Wiley (sometimes rendered as Geechie Wiley) was an obscure female United States blues singer and guitar player. She recorded three disc records in the early 1930s, all now highly sought after and worth a fortune to 78 record collectors. There are no known photographs or images of the artist in existence.
Ishman Bracey (whose testimony may or may not be accurate) said that Wiley was from Natchez, Mississippi or nearby, and at one time or another romantically linked to Papa Charlie McCoy. She is rumored to have worked in a medicine show in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1920s. Wiley may have been married to Casey Bill Weldon for a time, following his divorce from Memphis Minnie.
Wiley recorded "Last Kind Word Blues" and "Skinny Leg Blues" in Grafton, Wisconsin for Paramount Records in March of 1930, with Elvie Thomas backing her on second guitar. (Thomas also recorded two songs for Paramount at the session, "Motherless Child Blues" and "Over to My House," with someone, presumably Wiley, providing second guitar and vocal harmonies.) In 1931 Wiley and Thomas returned to Grafton to record two more sides for Paramount, "Pick Poor Robin Clean" and "Eagles on a Half."
Further details of Wiley's early and later life, her career, and her legal name are unknown. The nickname "Geechie" or "Geechee" was most commonly given to people from around coastal South Carolina and Georgia, and is an alternate name for the Gullah ethnic group of that region."
Geeshie Wiley on MySpace