Turner’s Drug Store and the Easy Pay store in downtown Belzoni, Mississippi earned a place in Blues history in 1947-48 as the sponsors of radio broadcasts of blues musicians like Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James, who were living in Belzoni at the time.

Turner’s Drug Store and the Easy Pay store are now commemorated by a Mississippi Blues Trail marker.

Missisippi Blues Trail marker for Turner's Drug Store, Belzoni, Mississippi
Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Turner’s Drug Store, Belzoni, Mississippi

The Mississippi Blues Trail marker commemorating Turner’s Drug Store and the Easy Pay stands at the corner of Jackson Street and Hayden Street in downtown Belzoni, outside the former Turner’s Drug Store and across the street from the former Easy Pay store.

The GPS Location of this Mississippi Blues Trail marker is: N 33° 10.655′ W 90° 29.336′

The marker reads:

“TURNER’S DRUG STORE – The names of Turner’s Drug Store (located on this corner) and the Easy Pay Store across the street are etched into blues history as sponsors of some of the first radio programs in Mississippi to feature Delta blues. In 1947-48 stations in Yazoo City and Greenville began broadcasting live performances by Sonny Boy Williamson No.2 and Elmore James from Belzoni via remote transmission. Williamson, James and other musicians often performed outside the stores, and inside the Easy Pay as well.”

The former Turner's Drug Store, Belzoni, Mississippi
The former Turner’s Drug Store, Belzoni, Mississippi

Bluesmen like Sonny Boy Williamson II (Aleck “Rice” Miller) and Elmore James, both residents of Belzoni in 1947-48, often played outside Turner’s Drug Store, for tips from passersby. They often played in the former Easy Pay store across the street, encouraged by store management as a way of drawing customers into the store. The former Turner’s Drug Store is now occupied by a store called Factory Connection.

The former Easy Pay store, Belzoni, Mississippi
The former Easy Pay store, Belzoni, Mississippi

Bluesmen like Sonny Boy Williamson II (Aleck “Rice” Miller) and Elmore James, both residents of Belzoni in 1947-48, often played in the Easy Pay store, encouraged by store management as a way of drawing customers into the store. The also frequently played for tips on the street outside the former Turner’s Drug Store, across the street. The former Easy Pay store was vacant when we last visited Belzoni.

Other nearby blues history sites nearby include:

  • Old Belzoni Jail where Charley Patton was briefly incarcerated circa 1933-34.
  • Mississippi Blues Trail marker commemorating Denise LaSalle