Geeshie Wylie: Skinny Leg Blues (1930)

 |   |  <1 min read

Geeshie Wylie: Skinny Leg Blues (1930)

Blues singer Geeshie Wylie -- probably not her real name, more likely a nickname because she was of the Gullah people of South Carolina and Georgia -- recorded even fewer songs than Robert Johnson.

Just six known recordings and no photograph of her exists either.

She may have been with a traveling medicine show in the Twenties but, other than her recordings in an 18 month period, not much else is known about her. Not her birthplace, nor when or where she died.

However as critic Don Kent notes, she was around just at the time that black secular music was coalescing into the blues, as you can hear on this scratchy recording lifted from the original 78. (This is taken from the excellent set The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of which comes with fascinating liner notes and Robert Crumb illustrations.)

Interesting too that Wylie recorded with another woman, the guitarist Elvie Thomas.

There is a power to both Thomas' playing -- in the dark swoops and off beat rhythms -- and Wylie's vocal which brings sex and menace to her delivery of lyrics which are about . . . well, sex and menace and murder actually.

"Nick Cave to the operating theatre, please." 

For more one-offs, oddities or song with an interesting backstory check the regular updates From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Brute Force: The King of Fuh (1969)

Brute Force: The King of Fuh (1969)

The two hour-plus DVD doco Strange Fruit shone a spotlight on a fascinating period in the Beatles' career, that of their own production/recording and publishing company Apple whch McCartney... > Read more

Screaming Dizbusters: This Ain't the Summer of Love (1986)

Screaming Dizbusters: This Ain't the Summer of Love (1986)

Elsewhere's been down this side alley before with songs from a terrific double CD compilation A Real Cool Time Revisited; Swedish Punk, Pop and Garage Rock 1982-1989. The album is only... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BIGGLES SHOT DOWN: But not by the Boche this time

BIGGLES SHOT DOWN: But not by the Boche this time

The thrilling air adventure of Biggles in World War One flew pretty close to reality. Take the case of the Belgian aerial observer whose balloon shared the skies with glue-and-matchstick flying... > Read more

Singapore: Drinking with an angel

Singapore: Drinking with an angel

It's always a pleasure — and sometimes even necessary given the humidity — to just plonk down in one of those cheap street-corner eateries in Singapore and take in the passing parade... > Read more