Chauffeur Blues

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"Me and My Chauffeur Blues"
Single by Memphis Minnie
B-side"Can't Afford to Lose My Man"
Released1941 (1941)
Songwriter(s)Lawlar (credited on original record)
Producer(s)Lester Melrose

"Chauffeur Blues" is a song originally recorded by Memphis Minnie as "Me and My Chauffeur Blues" in 1941.[1] In 2020, her recording was added to the U.S. National Recording Registry. The song has been recorded by a variety of artists.

Songwriter credits[edit]

The original Okeh Records 78 listed "Lawlar" as the songwriter.[2] Minnie was married to and performed with Ernest "Little Son Joe" Lawlars, though it is thought she wrote the song herself.[3] Performing rights organizations show both Memphis Minnie and Ernest Lawler [sic] as the writers.[4][5]

Jefferson Airplane rendition[edit]

The Jefferson Airplane version of this song is on the album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, with Signe Anderson as the lead vocalist. The album lists Lester Melrose, the influential early blues record producer, as the songwriter. It is performed at a faster tempo and uses only three of the four verses. Anderson performed the song with strong contralto vocals. According to Jeff Tamarkin, author of Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane, Jorma Kaukonen brought in "Chauffeur Blues" for Signe to sing.[6] Jorma probably found the song on Judy Roderick's folk/blues album "Woman Blue" released in 1965. It was not included in the repertoire of Jefferson Airplane's early gigs and was performed only occasionally. It was last performed by the Airplane on October 15, 1966, at the concert recorded as Signe's Last. An extended version of the song is included in the remastered version of Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The blues writer and historian Thomas Millroth claims Memphis Minnie received no royalties from Jefferson Airplane.[7]


In 2020, Memphis Minnie's rendition was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[8]


  1. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. p. 13. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  2. ^ Me and My Chauffeur (Record listing). Memphis Minnie. Okeh Records. 1941. Front label. 06288.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ Garon, Paul; Garon, Beth (1992). Woman With Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues. New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 51ff. ISBN 0-306-80460-3.
  4. ^ "BMI Repertoire: 'Me and My Chauffeur Blues' (BMI Work # 970273)". BMI. Retrieved March 26, 2020. Total Controlled by BMI 50% – Songwriter/composer: Lawler Ernest
  5. ^ "ACE Repertory: Me and my Chauffeur (Work ID: 905010300)". ASCAP. ASCAP controls 50% – Writer: Memphis Minnie
  6. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (2005). Got a Revolution! The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Atria. ISBN 978-0671034047.
  7. ^ Garon, Paul (2014). Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues. San Francisco: City Lights Books. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-87286-621-8.
  8. ^ "National Recording Registry Class Produces Ultimate 'Stay at Home' Playlist". Library of Congress. March 25, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2020.