Lillie Mae Glover, 76, Dies; Emulated Singer Ma Rainey

From Times Wire Services

Lillie Mae Glover, who ran away from home at 13 to sing in a traveling medicine show, will be buried Monday after a funeral procession down Beale Street, the nightclub district that the blues made famous.

Since 1939, Miss Glover had performed as Ma Rainey II, after the legendary blues singer who died that year and who she emulated.

Miss Glover died Wednesday in Iuka, Miss., at the age of 76.

She ran away from her Tennessee home in 1920 to join the Tom Simpson traveling medicine show.


“I wanted to sing the blues, but my father was a pastor, and the blues were looked on in those days as dirty music. And for me to stay in Nashville would have been a disgrace for my family,” she said in a 1982 interview.

She was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Music and Entertainment in Chicago in 1981 and received Tennessee’s outstanding achievement award in 1979. She received the Beale Street Music Festival Award in 1977.

Paul Savarin, former owner of the Blues Alley, where Miss Glover frequently performed, said she will be buried near longtime Memphis political boss E.H. Crump in Elmwood Cemetery.

Her gravestone will bear the words, “I don’t care what Mr. Crump don’t allow, I’m gonna barrelhouse anyhow.”

She left no immediate family.