Coot Grant

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Coot Grant

Coot Grant (born Leola B. Pettigrew June 17, 1893 in Birmingham) was a country, blues and vaudeville singer and songwriter. Her own stage craft, plus the double act with her husband and musical partner, Wesley "Kid" Wilson, was popular with African American audiences in the 1910s, 1920s and early 1930s.

Pettigrew was one of 15 children. The first part of her eventual stage name came from a derivation of her childhood nickname, 'Cutie'. She began work in 1900 in Atlanta, Georgia, appearing in Vaudeville, and the following year toured South Africa and across Europe with Mayme Remington's Pickaninnies. She was sometimes billed as Patsy Hunter. In 1913, she married the singer, Isiah I. Grant, and they worked on stage together before his death in 1920. She married Wesley Wilson the same year, but he surpassed her on stage names, being later variously billed as Catjuice Charlie (in a brief duo with Pigmeat Pete), Kid Wilson, Jenkins, Socks, and Sox Wilson. He played both piano and organ, whilst Coot Grant strummed guitar as well as sang and danced.

The duo's billing also varied between Grant and Wilson, Kid and Coot, and Hunter and Jenkins, as they went on to appear and later record with Fletcher Henderson, Mezz Mezzrow, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong. Their variety was such that they performed separately and together in vaudeville, musical comedies, revues and traveling shows. This ability to adapt also saw them appear in the 1933 film, The Emperor Jones, alongside Paul Robeson.

In addition to this, the twosome wrote in excess of 400 songs over their working lifetime. That list included "Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer)" (1933) and "Take Me for a Buggy Ride", which were both made famous by Bessie Smith's recording of the songs, plus "Find Me at the Greasy Spoon" and "Prince of Wails" for Fletcher Henderson. Their own renditions included the diverse, "Come on Coot, Do That Thing" (1925), "Dem Socks Dat My Pappy Wore," and "Throat Cutting Blues" (although the latter remains unreleased)."

In 1926, Grant joined up with Blind Blake, and recorded a selection of country blues renditions. Although Grant and Wilson's act, once seen as a serious rival to Butterbeans and Susie, began to lose favor with the public by the middle of the 1930s, they recorded further songs in 1938. Their only child, Bobby Wilson, was born in 1941. By 1946, and after Mezz Mezzrow had founded his King Jazz record label, he engaged them as songwriters.

Wilson retired in ill health shortly thereafter, but Grant continued performing into the 1950s. In January 1953, one commentator noted that the couple had moved from New York to Los Angeles, but were in considerable financial hardship.

Her entire recorded work, both with and without Wilson, was made available in three chronological volumes in 1998 by Document Records.


  • "Coot Grant" (November 7, 2011) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia - accessed November 15, 2011