Bertha Lee Pate

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Bertha Lee Pate, known more commonly as Bertha Lee (1902 – 1975)[1] was an American classic female blues singer, active in the 1920s and 1930s. She was notable for recording with, and being the wife of, Charlie Patton.[2]

Biography[edit]

When she was young, Lee's family moved to Lula, Mississippi. Lee met Patton in 1930 and remained his wife until his death in 1934. During this time, she sang on twelve of Patton's recordings, which resulted in the recording of three of her own songs, "Yellow Bee", "Dog Train Blues", and "Mind Reader Blues". Patton accompanied her on guitar on these records.[2]

Her relationship with Patton was a turbulent one. At one time, both of them were incarcerated in a Belzoni, Mississippi jailhouse after a particularly harsh fight.[citation needed]

In 1933, the couple settled in Holly Ridge, Mississippi, and in 1934, they travelled to New York for what would be Patton's final sessions (on January 30 and February 1).[3] They later returned to Holly Ridge and Lee saw Patton out in his final days, as he died of a heart ailment on April 28, 1934.[3]

Little else is known of Lee, and her recordings with Patton are the only documents of her voice. The album, Masters of the Delta Blues:The Friends of Charlie Patton contains some of her work.[4]

She died in 1975 in Chicago, Illinois.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mississippi Blues Trail. "Livin' at Lula". Msbluestrail.org. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Biography by Joslyn Layne". Allmusic.com. Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 43. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  4. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 211. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.