Woman with Guitar

Woman with Guitar
Memphis Minnie's Blues
Foreword by Jim O'Neal




Press Reviews

Express Milwaukee

"Paul and Beth Garon write like fans, calling Memphis Minnie 'one of the most influential blues singers ever to record.' It sounds like the case-building biographers are wont to do—but they back their statement with a who's who of blues performers who acknowledge their point. The new edition of Woman with a Guitar fills in facts but the big picture is unchanged. Minnie was a rarity in the 1930s-'50s, a guitar-playing blueswoman whose original songs entered the repertoire of many performers. A touch of blues purist snobbery is indicated by the lack of mention of the best known Memphis Minnie cover, Led Zeppelin's 'When the Levee Breaks.'––David Luhrssen


OffBeat Magazine

"I'd worried that the redoubtable, unsinkable Memphis Minnie might fall apart under the flaying of the pages, as artists suffer through biographies too-literal, too-scholarly, or simply without enough imagination. I needn’t have. The Garons’ book, revised and expanded from an earlier edition, presents the artist in such a tantalizing manner than even if you haven’t heard her sides, you’ll run to your musical platform of choice, to sooth your ache … She set standards for guitar playing, singing and phrasing still hard to beat; Led Zeppelin paid her the ultimate compliment of a ripoff. She lives in our ears, and on the page—thank the Garons for that."––Andrew Hamlin


Blues Blast Magazine

"The idea behind any biography is to bring the subject into brighter light, illuminating their character, their strengths and faults as well as  their impact on the world around them. The Garons and their contributors have certainly fulfilled that goal. This updated volume celebrates the legacy of the person many claim was the first lady of the blues. Blues fans should relish this opportunity to discover more about Memphis Minnie, a pivotal figure in blues history."––Mark Thompson, Blues Blast Magazine


Memphis Flyer

"As the Garons show again and again, Minnie's earthy appeal was broad. Her playing was, as described by poet Langston Hughes, like 'heartbeats mixed with iron and steel.' … Woman with Guitar follows Minnie from rural Mississippi to Beale Street to Chicago and back to Memphis again, documenting the groundbreaking highs and the heartbreaking lows. It also digs deep into her discography, running down threads of protest and cultural commentary."––Chris Davis, Memphis Flyer


Review Fix

"Woman with Guitar showcases an intrepid performer who defied the odds, lived life on her own terms, and refused to accept the status quo, especially when it came to restrictions on women's agency. She refused to be submissive, meek, or quiet and was unafraid to make demands or get angry. Beth and Paul Garon celebrate Minnie's bold spirit and are to be credited for introducing her to a whole new generation of potential fans who will likely now hear her on YouTube. Furthermore, their work has raised a slew of questions about American Blues women, opening the door to additional research and exploration."--Eleanor J. Bader, Review Fix


Blurt Magazine

"The Garons' surrealist portrait of Minnie is a unique work of scholarship and an essential text toward understanding not only Minnie's world and work, but the blues itself. Quoting her lyrics and others in blues tradition, the authors consistently and convincingly deliver the idea that a blues narrative is often less critical to interpretation than its lines and metaphors . . . An offering to anyone interested in better understanding the blues and aiding in its survival, the Garons' work has certainly made a difference in my own explorations, listenings and writings on blues."--Denise Sullivan