The Three Forks Store, Quito, Leflore County, Mississippi

One of our readers, Terry Baker, has provided this photo of the Three Forks store at Highway 7 and County Road 512 in Quito, Leflore County, Mississippi.

The Three Forks store, Quito, Mississippi, circa 1993. It is no longer extant. (photo: Terry Baker)
The Three Forks store, Quito, Mississippi, 1995. It is no longer extant. (photo: Terry Baker)

The photos dates from 1995 and the building has since been demolished. This building at the intersection of Highway 7 and County Road 512 in Quito, Leflore County, Mississippi has been suggested as the site where Robert Johnson was poisoned.

Here is what Terry Baker told us in his email:

“I am doing some writing for my own enjoyment, and I am going over my 1995 trip to Mississippi (I moved to New York City in 1993, and lived there until I returned to my native England in 2012).

Anyway, to start that Delta peregrination, I bought a poster at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, the original site above the city library, which showed the places in the state of importance to its Blues history.

Now, this is a quarter of a century ago, but the person selling me the poster in what was a small museum then told me to visit Quito and Morgan City on the trail, of course, of Robert Johnson. In my notes at the time I have written from what I am sure must have been from that person: “First house in Quito on left beyond junction with County Road 512, former Three Forks store, dragged there from two or three miles farther in on 512.”

I read your notes on your excellent website, and the comments from Honeyboy Edwards, plus one reader’s comments of the tornadoes that ripped through the Greenwood area, supposedly destroying the store, but all I can report is what I was explained to me. I attach a photo of the “store” I was told about, the explanation being that the Itta Bena-Quito road, although very basic, was still the busiest road in the area, and the store was brought here on a flatbed from two to three miles inward on 512.

Either a long tale I believed, or something with substance?
Many regards,
Terry

A Third Photograph Of Robert Johnson Has Been Discovered

For decades there have been only two known photos of Robert Johnson. Now a third photo of Robert Johnson has been discovered.

Here are links to articles about this recently discovered photograph of Robert Johnson:

The previous two known photographs of Robert Johnson have been used to illustrate album covers and book covers.

Here are two examples of book covers using one of the first two known photographs of Robert Johnson:

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.
Book cover, Escaping The Delta - Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues, by Elijah Wald.
Book cover, ,Escaping The Delta – Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues by Elijah Wald.

Here is an example of a CD cover using the second of the first two known photographs of 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.

The photo used on the CD cover above was taken at Hooks Brothers Photography at 164 Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

Kings Palace Cafe, 162-164 Beale Street, Memphis, TN. The second floor was once occupied by Hooks Brothers Photography. The only known studio portrait of Robert Johnson was taken by Hooks Brothers Photography.
Kings Palace Cafe, 162-164 Beale Street, Memphis, TN. The second floor was once occupied by Hooks Brothers Photography. The only known studio portrait of Robert Johnson was taken by Hooks Brothers Photography.

We have written a post about the former Hooks Brothers Photography Studio.

The former Hooks Brothers Photography Studio is now a pool hall. We think this was once a Hooks Brothers studio room.
The former Hooks Brothers Photography Studio is now a pool hall. We think this was once a Hooks Brothers studio room.

The Mississippi Blues Trail marker commemorating Robert Johnson is outside the Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church south of Money, Mississippi.

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

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A Reader From Greece Has Done A Series Of Videos On Blues History

One of our readers from Greece, Panagiotis Charalampidis, left a comment on the site saying:

“Hello from Greece! I love your site! It has been a valuable source of information about the Blues. I just finished a series of videos about the History and Evolution of the Blues (10 episodes), something like a documentary or a series of history lessons for music lovers….”

Thanks Panagiotis. Glad you liked our website and found it useful.

Here are the 10 episodes of The History and Evolution of the Blues on Panagiotis Charalampidis’ YouTube channel, funkpunk.

Part 1, 16th-17th Century

Part 2, 18th-19th Century

Part 3, Gospel, Minstrelsy & Vaudeville

Part 4, Pop, Ragtime & Jazz

Part 5, Proto-Blues

Part 6, 1900-1920

Part 7, 1920’s

Part 9, 1930’s

Part 9, 1940’s

Part 10, 1950’s

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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