Yesterday, I highlighted the father of Mississippi delta blues, Charlie Patton. In 1930, just four years before his death from a heart problem, he met and married Bertha Lee Pate. In their brief time together, she recorded a dozen songs with him. She lived into the 1970s, but after Patton’s death, she never again recorded, which is a damned shame, because she was a great blues singer.
In 1965, Sam Charters tracked her down in Chicago where she was working in a used clothing store. She was just living her life and part of that was living and loving a blues legend — and being one herself. In the interview, she told the touching story of Charlie Patton’s death:
One of the songs that she did with Patton, which she also wrote, was “Mind Reader Blues.” I love the sliding of her voice. Patton just finger picks the guitar; there is no need for any slide; she provides it all.