As you may know, I have a special fondness for Geeshie Wiley. She was the young and apparently volatile blues singer who traveled around the south with Elvie Thomas. They are both legends — in both senses of the word. I wrote about them in some depth last year, Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley. They must have been quite the pair. Thomas was a lesbian of about 40 and Wiley was 20 years younger and murdered her husband. It is thought that it was in self-defense, because Wiley did not go to jail for it. But you can imagine the great movie Russ Meyer could have made out of the bare facts.
Geeshie Wiley’s best known tune is Last Kind Words. Of course, there is no actual video of her performing. In fact, we only have a single picture of Elvie Thomas as quite an old woman, which you can see in the article mentioned above. But I’ve heard countless other performers do the song. And recently, I came upon a guitarist named Christine Pizzuti, out of Germantown, New York. I’m always amazed at the incredible talent you find everywhere. And her version of the song is really compelling. She doesn’t know all of the lyrics, but that’s understandable. Check out Wiley’s Skinny Leg Blues — a song no one can seem to agree about the lyrics.
Anyway, I just love Pizzuti’s playing. And she manages Wiley’s voice pretty well too!