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Coot Grant & Kid Wilson


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"Black Vaudeville"


This recording was made in New York City in 1926 featuring Leola Wilson and Wesley Wilson vocals, accompanied by unknown piano, trumpet, & trombone.

Coot Grant was the main stage name of Leola B. Pettigrew, a classic blues singer and guitarist from Alabama whose legal name became Leola Wilson following her marriage to performing partner Wesley Wilson. The pair, who ironically were born in the same year (1893), met and began performing together in 1905 and were wed seven years later. Pettigrew was already known as "Coot Grant" by this time, the name representing some sort of word play on the nickname "Cutie". She had been involved in show business since she was a child beginning as a dancer in vaudeville. Prior to the start of the first World War she had already toured both Europe and South Africa sometimes appearing under the alias "Patsy Hunter". Her husband Wesley, who played both piano and organ, also performed under a variety of bizarre stage names including "Cat Juice Charlie", in a gross-out duo with "Pig-meat Pete", as well as "Kid Wilson", Jenkins", "Socks" and "Sox Wilson".

The husband and wife, appeared and recorded with top jazz artists such as Fletcher Henderson, Mezz Mezzrow, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong. They performed in musical comedies, vaudeville, travelling shows and revues billed as "Grant & Wilson", "Kid & Coot" and "Hunter & Jenkins" and in 1933 appeared in the film "Emperor Jones" with the famous singer Paul Robeson. Their songwriting was certainly as important as these performing activities. The couple published some four-hundred songs; most famous of which was "Gimme A Pigfoot" a title that became one of classic blues singer Bessie Smith's grandest hits.

On her own Leola Wilson also recorded country blues including some collaborations with guitarist Blind Blake in 1926. The careers of both she and her husband began to falter in the mid '30's, with the pair returning to the studios only briefly in 1938, and again a decade later when Mezzrow hired them to perform and write material for his new King Jazz label. Grant kept performing following her husband's retirement in 1948, but eventually dropped so far out of sight that to date no details have been discovered about her death.

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