Mississippi Blues Trail
The Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Greasy Street is located on Front Street in downtown Ruleville, Mississippi, near Rulesville’s former Illinois Central Railroad Depot.
The GPS location of the Greasy Street marker is N33° 43.599′ W90° 33.181.
There is another Mississippi Blues Trail marker nearby which commemorates blues guitarist Jimmy Rogers. The GPS location of the Jimmy Rogers marker is N33° 43.605′ W90° 33.156′.
This portion of Front Street, known locally as “Greasy Street” was a major center of commercial and recreational activity for the local African American community until the 1980s. Many well known blues artists played the clubs and juke joints on, and around, Greasy Street.
The front side of the Greasy Street marker says:
“For many decades this block of Front Street, known locally as “greasy Street,” was the center of commercial activity for African Americans in the Ruleville area. On Saturday nights Greasy Street was packed with people dressed in their finest clothes who visited establishments including Mack’s Colored Cafe. Blues musicians who played in Ruleville included Charley Patton, David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards and Howlin’ Wolf.”
The photos below show how Front Street, or “Greasy Street” looks now.
An interesting piece of archival film footage, shot in Ruleville and which purportedly showed Robert Johnson, was discovered in Memphis, Tennessee. Here is a Youtube video clip showing a discussion of that archival film. The consensus of the research was that the footage was shot outside the Delta Theater, near “Greasy Street” in Ruleville in January 1942 and therefore could not show Robert Johnson, who died in August 1938.
The Mississippi Blues Trail marker for Jimmy Rogers, which is a short distance from the Greasy Street marker, also refers to Greasy Street’s once thriving music scene. It says that “Ruleville’s row of juke joints on Front Street, known locally as “Greasy Street,” made the town a longtime center of blues activity.”
Today, Greasy Street’s glory days seem to be in the past. Its commercial and recreational importance has diminished dramatically and the “row of juke joints on Front Street, known locally as “Greasy Street,” [that] made the town a longtime center of blues activity” are no longer evident.
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