George & Ethel McCoy

Among the more delightful discoveries made along the blues trek were George and Ethel McCoy, a brother and sister guitar duo who lived in St. Louis. The Adelphi crew were enchanted with the pair's music style, the result of a lifetime of playing together, but it was not until Ethel performed "Meningitis Blues" that the dots were connected. Mike Stewart asked if Ethel had learned the song from one of Memphis Minnie's 78 records and was stunned by Ethel's reply: "No. She taught us the song. She was our Auntie."

Ethel is featured in the first selection offered here, "Penitentiary." This classic 'murder song' expresses a woman's willingness to serve time rather than continue to accept abuse from a cruel lover. George is featured in "Red Rooster" and is accompanied by his wife on washboard.

 

 Penitentiary

Red Rooster
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