Friday, December 23, 2011

Delta Blues Odyssey . . . Oddments and Miscellaneous, Part 5

This is it . . . the final installment for our Delta Blues Odyssey. While this entry does not pertain to "the Blues," it does cover the Blues and Grays. We set aside one full day to tour the Vicksburg National Military Park, as Screamin' Killer Davis and Little Jailhouse Gumbo had never had their National Park Passports stamped there.

The Memorial Arch at the entrance.

Battery De Golyer . . .

Inside the impressive Illinois Monument . . .

The Wisconsin Monument had been vandalized in large spray painted letters (that have been treated but are still somewhat visible) that read something akin to "Jesus is coming. Repent now." Evidently the statue thought Screamin' Killer was up to no good.

Reflecting upon the African American Monument.

Statue of Grant near the location of his headquarters.

This tunnel was dug by Union troops to avoid exposure to Confederate fire.

The Navy Monument . . .

The U.S.S. Cairo, which was sunk in the Yazoo River in December, 1862 . . . a good deal before the Siege of Vicksburg (May 18 to July 4, 1863).

The site of Pemberton's surrender to Grant.

Kentucky Confederate Monument . . .

Reconciliation? at the Kentucky Monument . . .

And so, to quote Roberto DurĂ¡n . . . "No mas, no mas."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Delta Blues Odyssey . . . Oddments and Miscellaneous, Part 4

A couple of the places we stayed in on our trip are worth mentioning. One tried to capture some of that blues vibe, while the other one exuded it.

Tallahatchie Flats is a conglomeration of old share cropping shacks moved to this location just outside of Greenwood. One of Robert Johnson's graves is just down the road.

We stayed in this cabin relocated from the Palo Alto Plantation.

As mentioned in a previous post, the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale is a blues mecca. A who's who of blues (along with other notables such as Martin Luther King, Jr.) stayed or lived here. We were guests in the Mavis Staples room.

"Rat" . . . the proprietor of Riverside.

Following a car accident, Bessie Smith died in this room of the G.T. Thomas Hospital . . . long before it became a hotel.

Rat not only gave us a tour of the Riverside Hotel, but he also gave us a driving tour of Clarksdale! How many dad-blasted hotel proprietors would do that for ya? Well, Rat did. We could not have had a more accommodating host.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Delta Blues Odyssey . . . Oddments and Miscellaneous, Part 3

We did not intentionally seek out the sites on this post. However, as we travelled the backroads of the Delta, we kept running across places pertaining to Emmett Till. I feel it is important not to shield the young from such realities. They need to know that evil is out there. So, Little Jailhouse Gumbo got a lesson about the depravities people can commit on one another. I won't go into the specifics. Follow the links posted if you want to learn more. It is not a story that gives one faith in our fellow man.

Emmett Till Museum
Emmett Till Wikipedia entry
American Experience: The Murder of Emmett Till

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hubert Sumlin . . . RIP

Just found out that Hubert Sumlin died this past Sunday (December 4). He was 80 years old.

Notice at the Hubert Sumlin website.
Article in the NY Times.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Delta Blues Odyssey . . . Oddments and Miscellaneous, Part 2

Margaret's Grocery and Market (just north of Vicksburg on old US Hwy 61) . . . "Home of the Double Headed Eagle." Unfortunately, the Reverend is now in a nursing home, Margaret has passed, and the Double Headed Eagle looks to be soon following. Perfect mix of crazy and religion.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Delta Blues Odyssey . . . Oddments and Miscellaneous, Part 1

Cozy Corner Cafe in Indianola, Mississippi.

Two cotton headed ninny mugginses . . .

Mrs. Crump’s house in Nitta Yuma, Mississippi.

It was here in Tutwiler that W.C. Handy heard:
A lean, loose-jointed Negro [who] had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept. His clothes were rags; his feet peeped out of his shoes. His face had on it some of the sadness of the ages. As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of a guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars. The effect was unforgettable. His song, too, struck me instantly. ‘Goin’ where the Southern cross’ the Dog.’ The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I ever heard.
I guess the rest is history.

Happy Faces Only! . . . Helena, Arkansas.

Where the Southern crosses the Yellow Dog . . . Moorhead, Mississippi.

Abandoned mill in Hollandale, Mississippi. I think Sam Chatmon worked here.

The Jigger & Jug (Greenville, Mississippi), the first legal liquor store in Mississippi following prohibition . . . it opened in 1966!!!

Yuck's Food Market in Indianola.

Along the road to B.B. King's birthplace near Blue Lake.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Delta Blues Odyssey . . . Grave Concerns

Big Joe Williams . . . buried outside of Crawford, Mississippi.

Joe Lee "Big Joe" Williams

"King of the Nine-String Guitar"

Big Joe sustained the longest recording career of any Mississippi bluesman, spanning seven decades (1929-1982). He was a true American Original.

Elmore James . . . buried outside of Ebenezer, Mississippi.

Elmore James
"King of the Slide Guitar"

January 27, 1918 May 24, 1963
Born in Holmes County, Mississippi Elmore James electrified the rural delta blues with his unique slide guitar style creating a powerful legacy that will remain forever in American music. THE SKY IS CRYING. . . . LOOK AT THE TEARS ROLL DOWN THE STREET

Lonnie Pitchford . . . buried in the same cemetery as Elmore James. A most fitting gravestone, for there is a diddley bow on the side of it (you probably can not make it out, but in the pictures above and below we are plucking at the string). And if you don't understand why it is a fitting tribute, click on the links.

Lonnie Pitchford

"The Delta is my school and the blues is my teacher. It's still God's music. It's just telling the truth."

James "Son" Thomas . . . buried outside of Leland, Mississippi.

James "Son" Thomas
Oct.14, 1926 -
June 26, 1993
World renowned Sculptor and Recording Artist,
beloved father, grandfather and friend.
"Give me beefsteak when I'm hungry, whiskey when I'm dry, pretty women when I'm living, heaven when I die."

Willie Foster . . . buried in Holly Ridge, Mississippi (near the grave of Charley Patton).

Willie James Foster
Harmonica Parader
With Soul

Sept. 19, 1921

May 20, 2001

Mississippi John Hurt . . . buried outside of Avalon, Mississippi.

John S Hurt
Born Mar 8 1892

Died Nov 2 1966

The grave of Mississippi John Hurt is located in one of the more isolated cemeteries we visited . . . and his grave is in the back of that. Apparently, not so long ago, the road to the cemetery was fairly rutted, but it has been graded recently. So, no problems of access now.

Memphis Minnie . . . buried outside of Walls, Mississippi.

Lizzie "Kid" Douglas Lawlers
Memphis Minnie
June 3, 1897
Aug. 6, 1973

Gus Cannon . . . buried outside of Hernando, Mississippi.

Gus Cannon
September, 1875
Oct. 15, 1779
May he rest in peace.