Memphis Minnie

memphis-minnieMemphis Minnie in my humble opinion is the first female rock, blues, or even punk singer. My artwork is based on the blues. Blues music is expression. It’s storytelling through lyrical poetry and rhymes. I remember a professor of mine as an English Literature major who discredited, and described my poetry as “childish and that has too many rhymes.” I told him I was influenced by blues songs, and that didn’t appeal to him whatsoever. He regarded what he knew best. He spent an hour in class explaining the styles of Yates or Frost that didn’t appeal to me. The blues is the reason we have rock and roll. It didn’t merely influence rock, it created it. It holds Southern African American traditions. Memphis Minnie like Sister Rosetta Stone bent notes, she didn’t play melodic riffs like Sister Rosetta who is the inventor of rock & roll. Memphis was very experimental with her vocals and expressions. She threw in short notes. She sang a few words, moaned, chanted and shouted. She made animal sounds. She sounded ridiculous at times, and still created meaning. She is the first punk vocalist to ever pick a guitar and holler.