Bertha Lee Patton: Mind Reader Blues (1934)

 |   |  1 min read

Bertha Lee Patton: Mind Reader Blues (1934)

The last wife of Charley Patton, Bertha Lee was a fine singer in her own right -- and she probably had plenty of reasons to sing the blues.

She was only married to Patton for about four years -- he died in 1934 -- but by all accounts their relationship was a volatile one.

Honeyboy Edwards said, "Charley always had a lot of women. Men didn't like him much because all the women was fools over him" and Howlin' Wolf recalled him as "a great drinker".

He had his throat cut badly during a drunken knife fight so his last sessions didn't capture his former power. 

The Pattons recorded about dozen songs together -- his, on which she also sang -- but she also did three of her own, including this, at his final sessions in January '34 in New York. Apparently Patton cut a couple of dozens songs in New York but only 10 of them were released and the rest destroyed.

He was dead within four months . . . but Bertha Lee lived for another four decades and died in 1975, aged somewhere in her early 70s.

Despite that, there are about as few photos of her as there are of Robert Johnson.

Which is to say, two.

51mDPkk9tKL._SL500_AA300_This track is on the bonus disc Delta Blues Legacy which comes with the album The Rough Guide to Blues Legends; Charley Patton which collects 22 of Patton's songs lifted from very scratchy 78rpms.

Want more of the blues?

Then check out this

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Various People: A crowd at the futbol in Buenos Aires

Various People: A crowd at the futbol in Buenos Aires

Okay, this is from the "Maybe you had to be there part" shelf in the Elsewhere vaults but . . . In Buenos Aires we went to a huge soccer ("futbol") match at Rio del... > Read more

The Rainmakers: Let My People Go-Go (1986)

The Rainmakers: Let My People Go-Go (1986)

Bob Walkenhorst of Kansas City's Rainmakers had a good line about his fellow Americans' willingness to get out of it. "The generation that would change the world is still looking for its... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

DEADWOOD; TIMOTHY OLYPHANT INTERVIEWED (2006): It's always the quiet ones . . .

DEADWOOD; TIMOTHY OLYPHANT INTERVIEWED (2006): It's always the quiet ones . . .

There are few more quiet characters on television than Sheriff Seth Bullock who broods with repressed menace throughout the gritty Western series Deadwood. His dialogue usually comes down to a few... > Read more

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

It would be a fair guess to say Michael Chugg has been at more shows than any musician you can name. Because when musicians take a break Chugg is at another show. Not that he actually sits down... > Read more