Renovation Of The Hotel Chisca In Downtown Memphis

We came across this article on the renovation of the Hotel Chisca in downtown Memphis.

The Hotel Chisca has a solid place in blues history as the home of radio station WHBQ, whose DJ Dewey Phillips was the first DJ to play an Elvis Presley record on air when he played Elvis Presley’s That’s All Right (Mama) on 6 July 1954.

Elvis Presley had recorded That’s All Right (Mama) at Sam PhillipsSun Records at 706 Union Avenue on 5 July 1954. On 6 July 1954 Sam Phillips delivered a copy of the single to Dewey Phillips (no relation) at the WHBQ studio at the Hotel Chisca. Dewey Phillips played That’s All Right (Mama) on his Red, Hot And Blue radio show the same day and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Memphis Recording Service, Sun Records and Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
The Memphis Recording Service, Sun Records and Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee

Here is a photo we took of the Hotel Chisca building before the renovations.

The former Hotel Chisca in downtown Memphis, 2014. (photo: Mississippi Blues Travellers)
The former Hotel Chisca in downtown Memphis, 2014. (photo: Mississippi Blues Travellers)

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Mississippi Country Music Trail Has Added A New Marker Commemorating Jerry Lee Lewis

On 19 December 2019 the Mississippi Country Music Trail added a new marker commemorating Jerry Lee Lewis.

Here is a video of the unveiling ceremony:

 

 

We will visit this marker in the future. But here are the Mississippi Country Music Trail markers we have visited so far:

The Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Bobbie gentry, Grand Avenue, Greenwood, Mississippi
The Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Bobbie Gentry, Grand Avenue, Greenwood, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker commemorating Elsie McWilliams, Meridian, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker commemorating Elsie McWilliams, Meridian, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Elvis Country, Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Elvis Country, Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Marty Stuart, Philadelphia, Neshoba County, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Marty Stuart, Philadelphia, Neshoba County, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Country Music Comes Of Age, Meridian, Mississippi
Mississippi Country Music Trail marker for Country Music Comes Of Age, Meridian, Mississippi

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Recommended Recording: It’s The Way That You Swing It – Jimmie Lunceford And His Orchestra

Recommended Recordings

As one of Our Recommendations and Recommended Recordings, we recommend It’s The Way That You Swing It – The Hits Of Jimmie Lunceford by Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra, a 2 CD set released on Jasmine Records.

CD cover, Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra, It's The Way That You Swing It, a 2 CD set released on Jasmine Records
CD cover, Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra, It’s The Way That You Swing It, a 2 CD set released on Jasmine Records

Jimmie Lunceford (1902-1947) was born in Fulton, Mississippi. Although he is not well known today, his band was one of the most popular bands of the 1930’s and 1940’s Big Band and Swing era.

Available through:

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Recommended Book: Up Jumped The Devil – The Real Life Of Robert Johnson

We have added Up Jumped The Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson, by Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, published in 2019, to our list of Recommended Books.

This is the best biography of Robert Johnson that we have read so far.

Up Jumped The Devil, The Real Life of Robert Johnson, by Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, is one of our Recommended Books.
Up Jumped The Devil, The Real Life of Robert Johnson, by Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow, is one of our Recommended Books.

Available through:

Here is a link to our page on Little Zion M.B.E. Church, near Money, Mississippi, where we believe Robert Johnson is buried.

Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Robert Johnson, Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Money Road, Leflore County, Mississippi
Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Robert Johnson, Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Money Road, Leflore County, Mississippi

Robert Johnson’s Complete Recordings should be part of any blues fans’ collection. Here is the edition we have included in our Recommended Recordings.

CD cover, Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings. This is the edition we are currently recommending.
CD cover, Robert Johnson – The Complete Recordings. This is the edition we are currently recommending.

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A Good Article On Robert Johnson’s Grave Site – Atlas Obscura -23 October 2019

A good article on Robert Johnson’s reputed grave sites has been published  on the Atlas Obscura website.

The author, Matthew Taub, contacted MississippiBluesTravellers.com by email with a request for information about Robert Johnson’s grave sites. We put him onto T. DeWayne Moore of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund and Gayle Dean Wardlow, who found Robert Johnson’s death certificate in the Leflore County archives in the 1970’s.

Here is a link to the resulting article on the Atlas Obscura website. We think it came out well.

If you want to see the reputed Robert Johnson grave sites for yourself, here are links to more information:

Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Robert Johnson, Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Money Road, Leflore County, Mississippi
Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Robert Johnson, Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Money Road, Leflore County, Mississippi
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church cemetery and its reputed Robert Johnson grave, Morgan City, Leflore County, Mississippi
Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church cemetery and its reputed Robert Johnson grave, Morgan City, Leflore County, Mississippi
Payne Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Quito, Leflore County, Mississippi, site of one of three reputed Robert Johnson graves,
Payne Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Quito, Leflore County, Mississippi, site of one of three reputed Robert Johnson graves,

Here is our current Recommended Recording of the Complete Robert Johnson:

CD cover, Robert Johnson - The Complete Recordings. This is the edition we are currently recommending.
CD cover, Robert Johnson – The Complete Recordings. This is the edition we are currently recommending.

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Update From T. DeWayne Moore On Ralph Lembo And His Historical Reputation

Ralph Lembo was a store owner and music promoter during the 1920’s and 1930’s in Leflore County, Mississippi who obtained recording contracts for musicians like Bukka White and Rube Lacey.

Ralph Lembo’s store in Itta Bena, Leflore County, Mississippi is still standing at 114 Humphreys Street in downtown Itta Bena.

The former Ralph Lembo store, Humphreys Street, Itta Bena, Leflore County, Mississippi
The former Ralph Lembo store, 114 Humphreys Street, Itta Bena, Leflore County, Mississippi

Ralph Lembo’s historical reputation has been tarnished through articles by blues historians, including Gayle Dean Wardlow and Ed Komara, who wrote that musicians considered Ralph Lembo untrustworthy. Gayle Dean Wardlow has written that Charley Patton refused to work with Ralph Lembo because he considered Lembo untrustworthy.

New research by T. DeWayne Moore of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund suggests that Ralph Lembo’s posthumous reputation has been tarnished unfairly and the criticism of Ralph Lembo as being untrustworthy is itself untrustworthy.

For more on this, here is a link to T. DeWayne Moore’s latest article on Ralph Lembo, published in July 2019.

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1924 Paramount Records Advertisement For Ma Rainey’s Mystery Record

Researchers at Mt. Zion Memorial Fund recently came across this 1924 advertisement for Ma Rainey recordings on Paramount Records, which originally appeared in the New York Age newspaper.

Paramount Records invited fans to send in their suggestion for the name of Ma Rainey’s “Mystery Record, (Paramount 12200) and offered 100 prizes for respondents.

A 1924 advertisement for Ma Rainey recordings in the New York Age. (Courtesy of Mt. Zion Memorial Fund)
A 1924 advertisement for Ma Rainey recordings in the New York Age. (Courtesy of Mt. Zion Memorial Fund)

Our thanks to the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund for putting us onto this advertisement.

Here is a YouTube recording of Ma Rainey’s Mystery Record:


Here is our Recommended Recording for Ma Rainey on CD:

CD cover, Ma Rainey, Mother of the Blues, a 5 CD box set released onJSP Records.
CD cover, Ma Rainey, Mother of the Blues, a 5 CD box set released on JSP Records.

 

Recommended Recording: Black Tornado, by Magic Slim

Recommended Recordings

As one of Our Recommendations and Recommended Recordings, we recommend Black Tornado, by Magic Slim, released in 1998 on Blind Pig Records.

CD cover, Magic Slim, Black Tornado, released in 1998 on Blind Pig Records
CD cover, Magic Slim, Black Tornado, released in 1998 on Blind Pig Records

Available through Amazon.com and these Amazon affiliates:

Here are some videos of Magic Slim:

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Recommended Recording: Reconsider Baby – The Complete Checker Singles 1954-1962, by Lowell Fulson

Recommended Recordings

As part of Our Recommendations and Recommended Recordings, we are recommending Reconsider Baby – The Complete Checker Singles 1954-1962 by Lowell Fulson.

CD cover, Lowell Fulson, Reconsider Baby - The Complete Checker Singles 1954-1962, released on Jasmine Records
CD cover, Lowell Fulson, Reconsider Baby – The Complete Checker Singles 1954-1962, released on Jasmine Records

Available through Amazon.com and these Amazon affiliates:

 

Our Recommendations and Recommended Recordings also include these Lowell Fulson releases:

CD cover, Lowell Fulson, Blues Shadows (with the Powder Blues Band), recorded in Vancouver, B.C. in 1982
CD cover, Lowell Fulson, Blue Shadows (with the Powder Blues Band), recorded in Vancouver, B.C. in 1982

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