Keeping the Blues Alive / Blues News  / KTBA Blues Photo of The Week – Norma-Jean Wofford aka “The Duchess”

Keeping The Blues Alive – Blues Photo Of The Week.

This week we are highlighting an iconic musician who created a unique and extraordinary music career during the early/middle 1960’s.  Bo Diddley’s second guitarist, Norma Jean Wofford aka “The Duchess.”

Norma Jean Wofford aka The Duchess (10/20/1938–4/30/2005) was the second guitarist in Bo Diddley’s band between 1962 and 1966.  She replaced Bo Diddley’s first female guitarist, Peggy Jones aka “Lady Bo.”  She is known for skintight stage clothes and appears on several of Bo Diddley’s record releases during her time in his band.

These include the albums “Bo Diddley & Company”, “Bo Diddley’s Beach Party”, “Hey! Good Lookin”, “500% More Man and The Originator”.  Diddley taught her how to play the play guitar and eventually his style of playing. On the road he introduced her as his sister, in the interest of protecting her on the road when they were touring. 

With her Gretsch Jupiter Thunderbird, she performed backup vocals, danced, and played rhythm guitar alongside Bo Diddley until calling it quits in 1966 to pursue raising a family.  Either way, Peggy Jones and Norma Wofford were way ahead of their time as female guitarist. They haven’t been given nearly enough credit for what they accomplished. Playing rhythm guitar with the Man, in heels, and as glamorous as any star at the time!  

Check out “The Duchess” in action in this vintage video of Bo Diddley performing “You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover.”  

Photo: Norma Jean Wofford.  Photographer: Pictorial Press