|Genres||Blues, country blues|
|Associated acts||Elvie Thomas|
Geeshie Wiley (sometimes rendered as Geechie Wiley) was an American female blues singer and guitar player. She recorded three records in the early 1930s. There are no known photographs or images of the artist in existence.
Ishman Bracey (whose testimony may not be reliable) stated Wiley hailed from Natchez, Mississippi, and was romantically linked to Papa Charlie McCoy. It is thought that in the 1920s she worked in a medicine show in Jackson, Mississippi. Some evidence suggests that Wiley may have married Casey Bill Weldon following his divorce from Memphis Minnie.
|“If Geeshie Wiley did not exist, she could not be invented: her scope and creativity dwarfs most blues artists. She seems to represent the moment when black secular music was coalescing into blues.”|
|Don Kent's liner notes to Mississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-35 (Yazoo CD 2007, 1994)|
In March 1930, Wiley recorded "Last Kind Word Blues" and "Skinny Leg Blues" for Paramount Records in Grafton, Wisconsin. Elvie Thomas provided guitar accompaniment. Thomas herself also recorded two songs at the time; "Motherless Child Blues" and "Over to My House," with Wiley playing guitar and supplying vocal harmonies. In March 1931 Wiley and Thomas returned to Grafton and recorded "Pick Poor Robin Clean" and "Eagles on a Half."
Further details of Wiley's early and later life, her career, and her legal name are unknown. The nickname "Geechie" or "Geechee" was most commonly given to people from around coastal South Carolina and Georgia, and is an alternate name for the Gullah ethnic group of that region.
Her song "Last Kind Word Blues" was used in the documentary Crumb (1994) by Terry Zwigoff in the scene where Robert Crumb puts a record on (not the Wiley selection) and sits down to listen. During the song a slideshow of his cartoons is shown. The song also appeared on the latter day compilation album, Mississippi Masters: Early American Blues Classics 1927-1935 (Yazoo Records).
David Johansen and the Harry Smiths covered "Last Kind Words" on their 2002 album Shaker. Johansen also sang a portion of "Last Kind Words" in the movie Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (2003).
C.W. Stoneking included a faithful cover of "Last Kind Word Blues" on his 2006 album Mississippi & Piedmont Blues 1927-1941.
- Paramount Records #12951 - March 1930 Geeshie Wiley: "Last Kind Words" / "Skinny Leg Blues"
- Paramount Records #12977 - March 1930 Elvie Thomas & Geeshie Wiley: "Motherless Child Blues" / "Over to My House"
- Paramount Records #13074 - March 1931 Geeshie Wiley & Elvie Thomas: "Pick Poor Robin Clean" / "Eagles On a Half"
- Sundayblues.org - accessed January 2010
- Leggett, Steve. "Geeshie Wiley". Allmusic. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
- Sullivan, John Jeremiah (2009). Best Music Writing 2009: Unknown Bards. Seal Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-306-81782-3.
- Archive.org - accessed January 2010
- Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 210. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.