Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Delta Blues Odyssey . . . Muddy Waters

While Muddy Waters claimed Rolling Fork as his birthplace, he was actually born in nearby Jug's Corner . . . which isn't on any map we had. Besides it was getting late and we still had a drive ahead of us, so Rolling Fork was good enough for us.

So, whilst we were being all touristy and such in the small downtown of Rolling Fork, a man approaches us and engages us in conversation (Screamin' Killer Davis . . . help me here. I can't remember his name). Of course, he knows we are there because of Muddy Waters. Well, after a few small pleasantries he offers that he is actually akin to Muddy Waters. He says he was Muddy Waters' great-nephew, or something to that effect. He said we had just missed seeing Muddy Waters' brother who was in town earlier that day. I asked him if he knew Muddy, and he assured me that he most certainly did.

So, I leave the conversation to Screamin' Killer Davis and Mr. Great-Nephew so I can take a few photos. And as I re-approach, Mr. Great-Nephew comes up to me and boldly states that this here fellow, meaning Screamin' Killer Davis, gave him $3.00 and that would buy him some fixin's, but he sure would like another $4.00 from me so he could get some fried chicken to go with it. I think he got $2.00 from me.

Hirsberg's in Friars Point . . . where Muddy Waters saw Robert Johnson play.

In 1941, musicologist Alan Lomax recorded Muddy at his cabin here at Stovall Farms, which is not far from Clarksdale, MS. Muddy stated, "when he played back the first song I sounded just like anybody's records. Man, you don't know how I felt that Saturday afternoon when I heard that voice and it was my own voice."

This is the site of the cabin Muddy Waters lived in as he grew up. The actual cabin, or what is left of it, is now in the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. Unfortunately, the powers that be at the museum would not allow photography (The B.B. King Museum had the same blasted policy). So, I am not able to show you the cabin, the Three Forks sign, etc.

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top visited the cabin while it was still in this location. Apparently the cabin had recently been damaged by a storm, so Gibbons "salvaged" a bit of the wood and had a guitar fashioned from it. The guitar was given the sobriquet Muddywood, and now resides in the Delta Blues Museum . . . of course I have no photos, but you can view it here.


Adonis Gorr said...

Harold Flood. I also recall that he complained about people coming and asking so many questions it was a bother. I think belatedly fearing he might have derailed his gravy train he quickly added 'you all looked like you needed help and I like helping people.'

Adonis Gorr said...

Also, no mention of TR and the Teddy Bear?

Merkin J. Pus-Tart said...

You know, we should have just asked Mr. Flood questions about Teddy R. and that blasted teddy bear story. Muddy who?

Anonymous said...

Fried chicken dinner must be pretty expensive down there. Malc, it's a wonder he didn't hit you up for a few bucks. Vic