January 5th, 2010, 06:54 PM
In February, my wife and I fly out of Sydney Australia bound for Memphis and a week touring around the Mississippi Delta. Yes, it's a bit of a pilgrimage. Unlike other places I've visited in the States, I don't expect much of the Delta. I think it will be a simple uncomplicated place, but in a way I'm looking forward to just that.
So here's my question to those of you who have done this before. What was your favourite place in the Delta. What's your number 1, must go to destination? Please tell me the place you most recommend we visit?
January 6th, 2010, 05:25 AM
Well, I think there's a blues museum of sorts in Clarksdale, Ms. Then there's the legendary towns you hear about from the mostly long gone players and inventors of the genre. Highway 61 runs south from Clarksdale and you can hit Cleveland, Indianola (I think Robert Johnson is buried there), Greenville, Leland, all towns frequented by the likes of Charley Patton, Son House, Robert, Tommy Johnson, John Hurt, Blind Blake, Muddy Waters is from a plantation around Indianola as well, from what I can recall. Plenty of ghosts to see, you can probably google up the grave sites of a lot of these cats if that's you're thing. My wife and used to stop at cemetaries along the old farm line in Texas to catch a faded glimpse of times long gone, say their names, count their kids, that kind of thing. In the southern part of the state I hear its awash in casino/gaming parlors.
I think there has been a blues revival of sorts in Mississippi for a few years now as part of an effort to keep the music alive in its original region and maybe do a little tourism business. I saw a teevee doc not long ago about actor Morgan Freeman partnering up on restuarant/juke joint venture somewhere down there. Don't know how it turned out. Lot of poverty last I was through that area many years ago, which tends to keep things simple, but not always uncomplicated. It does have some very beautiful places if you're a country boy, which is why Jimmy Rogers wrote "Miss the Mississippi and You" in that order.
In a previous life, I used to go out into the Gulf regularly and have made more than my share of trips down the River. New Orleans. It's not considered a part of the Delta proper, but iit has the most soul of any place I've ever lived in my life and it is the Jupiter of the blues satellite system. It's still not feeling well, go visit it. Bring it flowers and few bucks. Eat. Eat some more. And, you can still sit on the levee and drink Thunderbird (or Nightrain if you're on the budget tour) while the frieghters motor past. If it were me I'd drive all the way down Highway 23 to Venice, which is at the end of the paved road. I was too young and stupid to appreciate it properly for what it was then. I'm sure it's changed, but hey, it's an adventure.
January 6th, 2010, 06:51 AM
N ow that's my favourite place at the Iller Delta in the south of Bavaria , where we go bathing with the dogs:mrgreen:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuycEol72mc
January 6th, 2010, 09:30 AM
i love the cypress swamps. just head down 61 towards greenville....
tutweiler is cool too
January 6th, 2010, 09:31 AM
oh also, dont forget to stay at the "shack up inn" outside clarksdale!!
January 6th, 2010, 10:02 AM
This book might interest you:
January 6th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Used to be there were a couple of clubs in Clarksdale and, was it Greenville?, where you could sit in with local bands. Probably not anymore, though.
I haven't been there, but Morgan Freeman has opened a club in Clarksdale, http://www.groundzerobluesclub.com/.
(Links don't seem to be working, it's the Ground Zero Blues Club. Google it.)
January 6th, 2010, 01:16 PM
Ain't no more real juke joints in Mississippi since Junior's and Ethels closed down (unless you count some Hollywood Star's version). Even Po Monkey's does not do a lotta live music much anymore and now even has a "family" night.
If you were going out a bit later I would suggest going by Frogmore Plantation over the river in Louisiana. Ya might just be able to try your hand at picking some cotton. Do this for an hour (if you can last that long) and then imagine doing it for a lifetime at $40 a year. You will come to see where the blues comes from quick enough.
I always liked Farish Street in Jackson - home of Trumpet Records, the Alamo Theater, and H.C. Spier's music store and recording studio.
Ya might wander by Dockery Plantation in Sunflower County.
Then there is the town of Beauregard - a few miles from Hazelhurst. Story is that Ike Zimmerman, the guy who taught Robert Johnson, used to play in the cemetery here.
But actually, if ya just tool down Highway 61 you will get the idea.
January 6th, 2010, 07:34 PM
Stop here for some great pork http://www.hogsfly.com/
January 9th, 2010, 01:01 PM
follow the lead of many of the great delta blues players from days gone by......
and drive north to Chicago!