Monday, August 28, 2006

Pickin' Women: Geeshie Wiley

The names of the blues greats of the 1920's and 30's roll off the tongue like old friends. Charley Patton, Blind Boy Fuller, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie,...

Just like today there were plenty of lesser known artists that never got the recognition they deserved. Thankfully, the popularity of the major record labels "race records", meant that lots of those less popular artists were preserved for us on discs.

Not much is known about Geeshie Wiley, other than her name and the three records she left behind. The name "Geeshie", "Geechie", or "Geechee" was a nickname most commonly used along the coast of South Carolina, although some claim she was from the Natchez, Mississippi area. All that is truly known about Geeshie Wiley is that she was an accomplished guitar player and that she was in Grafton, Wisconsin at the studios of Paramount Records in March of 1930 to record with fellow blues guitarist Elvie Thomas (Paramount #12951 - Geeshie Wiley: Last Kind Words / Skinny Leg Blues & Paramount #12977 - Elvie Thomas & Geeshie Wiley: Motherless Child Blues / Over to My House). Both women returned to Grafton in March of 1931 to record a third disc (Paramount #13074 - Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas: Pick Poor Robin Clean / Eagles On a Half).

I first came across the music of Geeshie Wiley through the documentary film "Crumb". (We have already established that many riders on the Bus are fans of R. Crumb, as is your driver, so many of you may be familiar with this film.)

Listen to the superb guitar work by Geeshie Wiley with Elvie Thomas playing second guitar. Erie, mournful blues classics.

Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas - Last Kind Words.mp3

Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas - Pick Poor Robin Clean.mp3

Pick Poor Robin Clean can be found on the compilation "Mississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-1935" available at

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Blogger muse: nashville said...

Thanks for these! I have never heard Geeshie Wiley. We have "Crumb" in our Netflix queue - should be coming next, actually. I'm excited to see it.

September 07, 2006 11:01 PM  

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