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Blues Trail marker in Hernando, Mississippi
Blues Trail marker in Hernando, Mississippi

The Mississippi Blues Trail was created by the Mississippi Blues Commission in 2006 to place interpretive markers at the most notable historical sites related to the birth, growth, and influence of the blues throughout (and in some cases beyond) the state of Mississippi. Within the state the trail extends from the Gulf Coast north along several highways to (among other points) Natchez, Vicksburg, Jackson, Leland, Greenwood, Clarksdale, Tunica, Grenada, Oxford, Columbus, and Meridian. The largest concentration of markers is in the Mississippi Delta, but other regions of the state are also commemorated. Several out-of-state markers have also been erected where blues with Mississippi roots has had significance, such as Chicago. [1]

Implementation

The list of markers and locations was developed by a panel of blues scholars and historians. The trail has been implemented in stages as funds have become available. The National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Mississippi Department of Transportation have provided grants for funding of various markers, which are co-sponsored with funds from local communities. The marker texts are researched and written by Jim O'Neal and Scott Barretta, former editors of Living Blues magazine, together with an editorial and design team that has included Wanda Clark; Chrissy Wilson; Allan Hammons; and Sylvester Oliver. [2]

Prior to the founding of the Mississippi Blues Trail, two preliminary markers were placed in Indianola, Mississippi, at a corner where B.B. King played as a young man, and at the Club Ebony.

The first three Mississippi Blues Trail markers were dedicated on December 11, 2006. The first, at Holly Ridge, is dedicated to Delta blues pioneer Charley Patton. [3]

The second marker is located by the Southern Whispers Restaurant on Nelson Street in Greenville. Nelson Street, the home of many nightclubs, cafes, and juke joints over the years, was once the primary center of African-American business, entertainment, and social life in the Delta. [4] For many decades this historic strip drew crowds to the flourishing club scene to hear Delta blues; big band; jump blues; rhythm & blues; and jazz.

The third marker was unveiled at the original location of WGRM radio station in Greenwood, where B.B. King first broadcast as a gospel singer. [4]

By the end of 2016, the Mississippi Blues Trail had placed nearly 200 markers. [5] They honored individual artists, clubs, record companies, radio stations, and historic events, but also the plantations, streets, cities, and counties that developed as centers of blues activity. Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was also commemorated, as folklorists such as Alan Lomax recorded blues there by inmates (most notably Bukka White) on several occasions, dating to the 1930s. [6]

Current markers

Locations are in Mississippi unless otherwise stated.

Marker name Marker location Photograph Notes
100 Men D.B.A. Hall Bay St. Louis

61 Highway Vicksburg
Abbay & Leatherman Robinsonville

Robinsonville is now known as Tunica Resorts, Mississippi
Aberdeen Mississippi Blues Aberdeen

Ace Records Jackson
Albert King Indianola
Alligator Blues Alligator
Amory: Blues From A Railroad Town Amory

Arthur Crudup Forest

B.B. King Birthplace Berclair
B.B. King's Roots Kilmichael

Baptist Town Greenwood
Beale Town Bound Hernando
Big Jack Johnson Clarksdale
Big Joe Williams Crawford

Big Walter Horton Horn Lake
Biloxi Blues Biloxi

Birthplace Of The Blues? Dockery Plantation
Black Prairie Blues Macon

Blue Front Cafe Bentonia
Blue Room Vicksburg
Blues and Jazz in the Pass Pass Christian

Blues Deejays Greenwood

Blues Legends of Duncan Duncan

Bo Diddley McComb

Bobby Rush Jackson

Broadcasting the Blues Gulfport

Brookhaven Blues Brookhaven

Bud Scott Natchez
Buddy Guy Lettsworth, Louisiana

Bukka White Houston

Cahors, France Cahors, France
Calhoun County Blues Bruce

Casey Jones Water Valley

Cassandra Wilson Jackson

Charles Evers Fayette
Charley Patton Birthplace Bolton
Charley Patton gravesite Holly Ridge Blues singers Asie Payton and Willie James Foster are also buried at this cemetery with Charley Patton.
Charlie Musselwhite Kosciusko

Choctaw County Blues Weir
Chrisman Street Cleveland
Church Street Indianola
Clinton's Blues Legacy Clinton
Club Desire Canton
Club Ebony Indianola
Columbus - Catfish Alley Columbus

Corner of 10 and 61 Leland
Cotton Pickin Blues Hopson
Delta Blues Museum Clarksdale
Denise LaSalle Belzoni
Documenting The Blues Oxford
Dorothy Moore Jackson
Ealey Brothers Natchez
Eddie Shaw Benoit
Eddie Taylor Benoit
Edwards Hotel Jackson
Elks Hart Lodge No. 640 Greenwood
Elmore James Ebenezer
Elvis Presley and the Blues Tupelo
Fred McDowell Como

Two other Blues Trail markers are in the same area with this marker that honors Othar Turner and Napolian Strickland.
Freedom Village Greenville
Furry Lewis Greenwood
Gatemouth Moore Yazoo City
Gold Coast Flowood
Gospel Music and the Blues Cleveland Reverend C.L. Franklin, father of R&B singer Aretha Franklin, preached his first trial sermon at St. Peter's Rock M.B. Church, where this Blues Trail marker is located. [7]
Grammy Awards Los Angeles, California
Grammy Museum Mississippi Cleveland
Greasy Street Ruleville
Grenada Blues Grenada
Guitar Slim Shellmound
Gulfport Boogie Gulfport
H. C. Speir Jackson
Harlem Inn Winstonville
Harold "Hardface" Clanton Tunica
Henry Townsend Shelby
Hi-Hat Club Hattiesburg
Hickory Street (The Hollow) Canton
Highway 61 Blues Robinsonville
Hill Country Blues Holly Springs
Holmes County Blues (Lexington) Lexington
Holmes County Blues (Tchula) Tchula
HoneyBoy Edwards Shaw
Hot Tamales And The Blues Rosedale
Houston Stackhouse Wesson
Howlin' Wolf West Point
Hubert Sumlin Greenwood
Ike Turner Clarksdale
Ishmon Bracey Jackson Ishmon Bracey is buried at Willow Park Cemetery, which is located across the street from the Blues Trail marker.

J.B. Lenoir Monticello
Jack Owens Bentonia
James Cotton Clayton
Jessie Mae Hemphill Senatobia Jessie Mae Hemphill is buried at Senatobia Memorial Cemetery.

Jimmie Lunceford Fulton
James "Son" Thomas Leland
Jimmie Rodgers Meridian

Jimmy Reed Dunleith
Jimmy Rogers Ruleville
Joe Callicott Nesbit
John Lee Hooker Vance
Johnny Winter Leland
Jones County Blues Laurel
Lil Green Port Gibson
Little Brother Montgomery Brookhaven
Little Junior Parker Bobo
Little Milton Inverness
Liverpool Liverpool, England
Livin' at Lula Lula
Magic Sam Grenada
Magic Slim Grenada
Malaco Records Jackson
Marcus Bottom Vicksburg
McCoy Brothers

Kansas Joe McCoy and Papa Charlie McCoy

Raymond
Memphis Minnie Walls
Meridian Blues and Jazz [8] Corner of 5th Street & 25th Avenue
Meridian
More than 30 musicians are acknowledged at this marker including Alvin Fielder and Eddie Houston. It is located on the former site of the Fielder & Brooks Pharmacy, which Fielder's father (Alvin Fielder Sr., also a musician) started in 1934.
Meridian R&B and Soul Meridian
Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Festival Pascagoula

Mississippi John Hurt Avalon

Mississippi River Blues: The 1927 Flood Scott
Mississippi to Alabama Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Mississippi To Chicago Chicago, Illinois

Blues Trail: Mississippi to Florida Tallahassee, Florida ]
Mississippi to Helena Helena, Arkansas ]
Mississippi to Louisiana Ferriday, Louisiana

Mississippi to Maine Rockland, Maine

Mississippi To Memphis Memphis, Tennessee

Mose Allison Tippo
Mosley & Johnson New Albany
Moss Point Blues Moss Point
Mound Bayou Blues Mound Bayou
Muddy Waters Rolling Fork
Muddy Waters' cabin site Clarksdale
Napolian Strickland Como Two other Blues Trail markers are in the same area with this marker that honors Othar Turner and Fred McDowell.
Natchez Burning (Natchez Rhythm Club) Natchez
Nelson Street Greenville
Newton County Blues Newton This Blues Trail Marker is located near the historic Alabama & Vicksburg Railroad Depot.
Norway Notodden, Telemark, Norway
Ocean Springs Blues Ocean Springs
Oktibbeha County Blues Starkville
Otha Turner Como Two other Blues Trail markers are in the same area with this marker that honors Napolian Strickland and Fred McDowell.
Otis Clay Waxhaw
Otis Rush Philadelphia

Otis Spann & Little Johnnie Jones Jackson
Overton Park Shell Memphis, Tennessee

This is the 213th Mississippi Blues Trail marker, dedicated on September 23, 2023
Oxford & Lafayette County Blues Oxford
Papa Lightfoot Natchez
Paramount Records Grafton, Wisconsin

Paramount Records & F.W. Boerner Company Port Washington, Wisconsin
Parchman Blues Parchman
Peavey Electronics Meridian
Peavine Boyle
Pensacola Blues Pensacola, Florida
Pinetop Perkins Belzoni
Piney Woods School Piney Woods
Po' Monkey's Merigold
Pontotoc County Blues Pontotoc
Pops Staples Winona
Prince McCoy Greenville
Queen City Hotel & 7th Avenue Columbus
Queen of Hearts Jackson
Rabbit Foot Minstrels Port Gibson
Ralph Lembo Itta Bena
Rediscovery of Son House Rochester, New York
Red Tops Vicksburg

Riverside Hotel Clarksdale
Riley B. King Indianola
Robert Johnson birthplace Hazlehurst

Robert Johnson gravesite Greenwood
Robert Nighthawk Friars Point
Rocket "88" Lyon
Roma Wilson & Leon Pinson New Albany
Roots of Rock And Roll Hattiesburg
Rosedale Rosedale
Rubin Lacy Pelahatchie
Ruby's Nite Spot Leland
Rufus Thomas Cayce
Sam Chatmon Hollandale
Sam Cooke Clarksdale
Scott Radio Service Company Jackson
Shake Rag Tupelo
Sid Hemphill Senatobia
Skip James Bentonia
Son House Clack
Sonny Boy Williamson Glendora
Sonny Boy Williamson In Helena Helena
Subway Lounge Jackson

Summit Street McComb
Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival Clarksdale
Sunnyland Slim: Quitman County Blues Lambert
Tate County Blues Coldwater
The Alamo Theatre/ Dorothy Moore Jackson

The Blues Foundation Memphis, Tennessee

The Chatmon Family/ Mississippi Sheiks Bolton
The Dickinson Family Hernando
The Enlightenment of W.C. Handy Cleveland
The Hollywood Cafe Robinsonville
The New World Clarksdale
The Staple Singers Drew
Tommy Johnson Crystal Springs
Tommy McClennan Yazoo City
Trumpet Records Jackson

Turner's Drug Store Belzoni
Two Steps From The Blues Ackerman Texas Johnny Brown, [9] a native of Ackerman, Mississippi, wrote the blues song "Two Steps from the Blues".
Tyrone Davis Leland
W.C. Handy Birthplace Florence, Alabama
Wade Walton Clarksdale
W.C. Handy Encounters The Blues Tutwiler
WGRM Radio Studio Greenwood
"Where The Southern Cross The Dog" Moorhead
William R. Ferris Vicksburg
Willie Dixon Vicksburg

Willie Mitchell Ashland
Woodville Blues Woodville
WROX Clarksdale

Source: Mississippi Blues Trail official web site

See also

References

  1. ^ Widen, Larry. "JS Online: Blues trail". Jsonline.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  2. ^ "Mississippi Blues Commission - Blues trail". Msbluestrail.org. Archived from the original on 2007-02-09. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
  3. ^ "Haley Barbour Unveils First Marker of Mississippi Blues Trail". Jazz News. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
  4. ^ a b "Blues Matters! - Delta sites to be included on new blues trail". Bluesmatters.com. Retrieved 2008-05-28.[ dead link]
  5. ^ "Mississippi Blues Commission - List of Blues Trail Markers". Msbluestrail.org. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  6. ^ " BLUES TRAIL MARKS PARCHMAN AS MAJOR INFLUENCE Archived 2012-03-08 at the Wayback Machine." State of Mississippi. September 23, 2010. Retrieved on October 3, 2010.
  7. ^ "Gospel and the Blues - The Mississippi Blues Trail". msbluestrail.org. Retrieved 2023-10-13.
  8. ^ Neary, Michael (3 November 2017). "Marker celebrates Meridian's contribution to blues, jazz music". Meridian Star. Meridian, Mississippi. Retrieved 29 April 2020. More than 30 musicians, King noted, are recognized on the marker -- the 198th to be unveiled along the Mississippi Blues Trail.
  9. ^ "Mississippi honors Houston's Texas Johnny Brown - Houston Chronicle". Chron.com. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2013-07-06.

External links