The Mississippi Blues trail is a brilliant way to discover Mississippi. It takes you into the back of beyond and to strange parts of town. You pass the fields the slaves used to work in, the dives they used to play in and the street corners they used to busk on. By the time you’ve finished you’ve got a real feel for the place.
I saw Big Joe Williams perform in the late sixties on one of those Blues packages they brought across. He was on the same bill as Son House, Skip James, Bukka White, James Cotton and a few others. He went down so well that they couldn’t get him off stage.
You found the markers out in the middle of nowhere.
Back in the early days the people like Jimmie Rodgers and Woody Guthrie would mix quite freely with the black singers. Musicians seemed free of the evils of apartheid. Jimmie did a lot of blues numbers.
Trumpet records recorded my hero Elmore James (as well as people like Sonny Boy Williamson). I found it quite thrilling to stand where he had recorded a lot of those searing slide guitar riffs that I love so much.
Both Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson performed at the Alamo Theatre. A lot of those places were run down and neglected. But then they ripped the cavern in Liverpool down too. These politicians are fools. We should respect our heritage.
This was close to the place where BB King used to busk and record.
This was the site in Natchez where the Night Club burnt down killing so many people. Howlin’ Wolf sang about it in the song Natchez Burning.