I became a musical blues editor the moment I met Brian O’Connor, the last manager of blues legend Eugene Powell. Together we co-wrote The Original Rolling Stone: The Travelin’ Riverside Blues of Eugene Powell (Riverside Blues Series), and in the process explored the story of Powell’s wife, Mississippi Matilda.
My Work as a Musical Blues Editor Cited by Wikipedia
Imagine my surprise when I learned that my work was cited in Wikipedia … but not on Mississippi Matilda’s Wiki page. I was referenced on the Hattiesburg, Mississippi Wiki page as one of the sources establishing Mississippi Matilda as a notable Hattiesburg native and Delta blues singer. Actually, the citation came from my blog (see links above) in which I describe the lives of Eugene, Matilda, and other blues singers in the Riverside Blues Series.
It’s always a delight and honor to co-write and edit biographies of bygone musicians, especially those who made a mark in the early 1900s. Capturing their stories adds to our historical knowledge and shines a light on those who would otherwise be forgotten.
Mississippi Matilda a.k.a. Matilda Weatherspoon had an extremely challenging childhood and upbringing but went on to become a wonderful mother of ten children and a spouse-partner to Eugene Powell. She recorded four songs in 1936 for Bluebird Records but was underappreciated. In fact, she gave up the blues for gospel music and sang in church choirs for the rest of her life.
No one has written her autobiography … that is until Brian O’Connor and I collaborated on this vital project, still under development. Our hope is that Mississippi Matilda’s story will find its place in blues history and that she’ll finally be credited for her breakthrough achievements.
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