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. Maybe three.

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

Lewis: Like to See You Again (1983)

Lewis: Like to See You Again (1983)

The story behind the obscure album L'Amour by a man known only as Lewis is as odd and out-of-sych as the cover photos. In '83 the handsome, well-groomed Lewis turned up at a rundown punk studio... > Read more

Ann Peebles: I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home (1972)

Ann Peebles: I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home (1972)

Well, if anybody in '72 could break up somebody's home it would have been the steamy Ann Peebles who delivered this classic Memphis soul gem and the following year cemented her reputation with two... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Juliagrace: Beautiful Survivor (Parachute)

Juliagrace: Beautiful Survivor (Parachute)

One problem with being identified as a "Christian artist" -- as so many have discovered -- is that there is a resistance to them outside that market, and because of that many simply give... > Read more

GUEST ARTIST JOSEPHINE CACHEMAILLE on her new exhibition and current practice

GUEST ARTIST JOSEPHINE CACHEMAILLE on her new exhibition and current practice

I am interested in making objects, paintings and installations that provoke questions about our magical thinking tendencies. Magical thinking refers to causal reasoning that looks for... > Read more