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

Craig Scott: Smiley (1971)

Craig Scott: Smiley (1971)

It is a sad reflection on New Zealand's counter-culture that at the height of the war in Vietnam there were so few songs addressing the most important international event of that generation. Maybe... > Read more

Bob Dylan:Belle Isle (1970)

Bob Dylan:Belle Isle (1970)

Because of the length and breadth of his catalogue, it is hardly surprising Bob Dylan should have appeared at From the Vaults from time to time (see here), not always with great, lost songs either.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PATTI AUSTIN INTERVIEWED (2012): Along came Jones . . . and Jacko

PATTI AUSTIN INTERVIEWED (2012): Along came Jones . . . and Jacko

Patti Austin laughs frequently, sounds a world removed from her diva-like peers, makes references to Snoop Dogg and Rod Stewart, and admits her career – now more than five decades long and... > Read more

Stuffed Paw-Paw, Norfolk Island style

Stuffed Paw-Paw, Norfolk Island style

Norfolk Island, just a 90 minute flight north west of Auckland, isn't a place you go for fine dining. Or so I was told. But if you are there Dino's and Garrison on the main street are excellent,... > Read more