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Lillie Mae Glover Tn Music Pathways Marker

  • 130 East 8th Street
  • Columbia, TN 38401
  • Overview

    Vaudeville blues singer Lillie Mae Glover, often known professionally as Big Memphis Ma Rainey or Baby Ma Rainey, was born the daughter of a preacher in Columbia on Sept. 7, 1906, Lillie Mae (or Lillie Mary) Hardison soon moved to Nashville with her family. She and three siblings sang in her father's church. At age 14, she left Nashville with a traveling medicine show. Glover claimed to have opened for Ma Rainey (one of the first recorded blues singers, known as the “Mother of the Blues”) at the Frolic Theatre in Birmingham around 1925. In 1928, she settled in Memphis an married a cook, Willie Glover. where she played local clubs. According to her account, she nurtured up-and-coming artists including B.B. King and Bobby Bland. In 1953, Glover recorded two songs for Sun Records, “Call Me Anything (But Call Me)” and “Baby, No, No!” She predated Elvis Presley’s debut by 14 months. In the mid-1970s, Glover was booked on the Memphis Blues Caravan. She made regular appearances at Blues Alley on Memphis’ Front Street, interspersing her songs with stories. From the late 1970s on, Glover was beset with health issues, but continued performing. She made some recordings with local bandleader Prince Gave and worked until a couple of years before her death on March 27, 1985.