Mattie Delaney (born 1905; date of death unknown) was an American Delta blues singer and guitarist active in the 1930s. Only two recordings by her are known: "Down the Big Road Blues" and "Tallahatchie River Blues".

Researchers are divided on her birth year (circa 1904-05) and location, with the prevalent identities being either Mattie Doyle, born south of Tchula, Mississippi, or Mattie B. Delaney, born near Goodman, Mississippi. Around 1927 she may have moved to Memphis, Tennessee. Contemporary witnesses remember seeing her perform at Swan Lake, Mississippi. She recorded two songs for Vocalion Records in February 1930. Her song "Down the Big Road Blues" was a variant of Tommy Johnson's "Big Road Blues". One music journalist noted "Delaney issuing a matter-of-fact report in 'Tallahatchie River Blues'".

She was unusual for a female performer of the time, in that she played guitar accompaniment and sang topical songs. Nothing is known of her life after the recordings.
Delaney, an unknown girl with a guitar, recorded “Down the Big Road Blues” for the Vocalion label in New York City in the early 1930s. The penetrating head notes and the bottleneck slide foreground the melody, which was borrowed from a popular standard of the time. Any singer-songwriter would be proud of the pathos Delaney conveys. her track stands out as telling a particularly female story.

“I asked him, ‘How ’bout it?’, and he said, ‘All right’ / I asked him, ‘How long?’, and he said, ‘All night’.”
Delaney’s travelin’ woman is looking for a travelling companion, but the man she picks up warns her, “I will do you, mama, like a calf would do a cow.”

“I feel like crying,” she moans, each time with achingly subtle variations, notes blue enough to flirt with tonal chaos. Generations of spirituals pass through Delaney, field melodies and work songs drift through her lyrics, and her musicianship brims with sophistication. On the original flip side of the disc was “Tallahatchie River Blues”, a topical track recording a flood in the Mississippi area. After the recording, Delaney picked up her guitar and was never seen or heard again.

Several cover versions of Delaney's songs have been recorded over the years. These include:
"Travelin' Blues" - Rory Block (High Heeled Blues) (1981),
"Tallahatchie River Blues" - Rory Block (When a Woman Gets the Blues) (1995),
"Down the Big Road Blues" - Lucinda Williams (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road) (1998),
Two of Delaney's songs were included on the compilation album Mississippi Girls (1928–1931), issued in September 1991.

Jessie Mae Hemphill (October 18, 1923 – July 22, 2006) was an American electric guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist specializing in the North Mississippi hill country blues traditions of her family and regional heritage.

Hemphill was born near Como and Senatobia, Mississippi, in the northern Mississippi hill country, just east of the Mississippi Delta. She began playing the guitar at the age of seven. She also played drums in local fife-and-drum bands, beginning with the band led by her grandfather, Sid Hemphill, in which she played snare drum and bass drum.  Aside from sitting in at Memphis bars a few times in the 1950s, most of her playing was done in family and informal settings, such as picnics with fife-and-drum music, until she was recorded in 1979.

Her first recordings were field recordings made by the blues researcher George Mitchell in 1967 and the ethnomusicologist David Evans in 1973, but they were not released. She was then known as Jessie Mae Brooks, using the surname from a brief early marriage. In 1978, Evans came to Memphis, Tennessee, to teach at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis). The school founded the High Water Recording Company in 1979 to promote interest in the regional music of the South. Evans made the first high-quality field recordings of Hemphill in that year and soon after produced her first sessions for High Water.

Hemphill launched a recording career in the early 1980s.  In 1981 her first full-length album, She-Wolf, was licensed from High Water and released by the French label Disques Vogue. In the early 1980s, she performed in a Mississippi drum corps assembled by Evans; it included Hemphill, Abe Young, and Jim Harper (who also played on Tav Falco's Panther Burns's album Behind the Magnolia Curtain). Hemphill performed in another drum group with Young and fife-and-drum band veteran Othar Turner for the television program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. The French label Black & Blue Records released other recordings by her. Hemphill played concerts across the United States and in other countries, including France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada. In 1987 and 1988 she received the W. C. Handy Award for best traditional female blues artist. In 1987 she made her New York debut, accompanied by Evans and Walter Perkins. Her first American full-length album, Feelin' Good, released in 1990, won a Handy Award for best acoustic album.

In 1993 Hemphill had a stroke, which paralyzed her left side, preventing her from playing guitar; she retired from her blues career. She continued to play by accompanying her band on the tambourine.

In 2004, the Jessie Mae Hemphill Foundation released Dare You to Do It Again, a double album and DVD of gospel standards, newly recorded by the ailing vocalist. Jessie sang and played tambourine with accompaniment from Steve Gardner, DJ Logic, and descendants of the late musicians Junior Kimbrough, R. L. Burnside, and Otha Turner. They were her first recordings since her stroke in 1993. Also in 2004, Inside Sounds released Get Right Blues, containing material recorded from 1979 through the early 1980s, and Black & Blue released Mississippi Blues Festival, which includes seven live tracks by her from a Paris concert in 1986.

Hemphill died on July 22, 2006, at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, after complications from an ulcer.


As one of the earliest successful female blues musicians, Hemphill was an influential and pioneering artist. Her songs have been performed by indie musician Chan Marshall. Marshall performed Hemphill's song "Lord, Help the Poor and Needy" on her album Jukebox without credit, too much controversy.

In 2003, Hemphill's protégé and collaborator, Olga Wilhelmine Munding, established the Jessie Mae Hemphill Foundation to preserve and archive the African-American music of northern Mississippi, The foundation also provided assistance for regional musicians in need who could not survive on meager publishing royalties.

One of Hemphill's songs was featured in the dance Tales from the Creek, by Reggie Wilson's Fist and Heel Performance Group, in a series of events celebrating black culture in Union Square Park, Manhattan in 1998.

L.V. Thomas (née L.V. Grant, August 7, 1891 – May 20, 1979), better known as Elvie Thomas, was an American country blues singer and guitarist from Houston, Texas.


Thomas left school after the fifth grade and began playing guitar at the age of 11. She began performing at "country suppers" when she was 17. During the 1920s and 1930s, she performed with Texas Alexander, Leon Benton and Leroy Johnson.

Little is known about Elvie Thomas. Said to be from Palmer's Crossing, MS, she recorded two songs ("Motherless Child Blues" and "Over to My House") in Grafton, WI, for Paramount Records in March of 1930, with Geeshie Wiley assisting on second guitar. Thomas also backed up Wiley on two tracks at the same session, adding a second guitar on "Last Kind Word Blues" and "Skinny Leg Blues." A year later she sang and backed up Wiley on two more sides for Paramount, "Pick Poor Robin Clean" and "Eagles on a Half."

Her recordings for Paramount in 1930 and 1931 were labeled "Elvie Thomas". In an interview with blues researcher Robert "Mack" McCormick, she said of her name, "It's just the letters L. V., . . . that's all the name I got, but he [Paramount representative Arthur Laibly or pressing foreman Alfred Schultz] made it out 'Elvie' someway."

In her later years, Thomas sang in the choir at the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Acres Homes, a suburb of Houston.