Places In Blues History
We are gradually adding pages about Places in Blues History. Here are the sites we have included so far:
- Charley Patton’s High Sheriff Blues and the old Belzoni Jail, Belzoni, Mississippi.
- Charley Patton’s Tom Rushen Blues, Merigold, Mississippi
- Clack’s Grocery, Tunica County, Mississippi – where Alan Lomax recorded Son House in September 1941.
- Cosimo Matassa‘s recording studios at 838 North Rampart Street and 523-525 Governor Nicholles Street in New Orleans recorded some the best R&B to come out of New Orleans between 1946 and 1966, including the Fats Domino recordings for Imperial Records and the Little Richard recordings for Specialty Records.
- Crossroads, the intersection of Highway 49 and Highway 61 in Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi, where, according to legend, Robert Johnson reportedly sold his soul to the Devil.
- Daisy Theatre, 329 Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee
- Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home and gravesite in Memphis, Tennessee
- Hooks Brothers Photography, 164 Beale Street, Memphis – one of the only two known photos of Robert Johnson was taken at Hooks Brothers Photography.
- Memphis Recording Service, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis
- Mississippi Bridge – part of the lyric from Chuck Berry’s 1958 hit, Memphis, Tennessee
- Old Jim’s Canan’s – Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee, the subject of a Robert Wilkins recording from 1935
- Panola County Courthouse, Sardis, Mississippi – Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Lockwood Jr. were incarcerated here in the 1930’s
- Pee Wee Saloon – Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee. Mentioned in W.C. Handy’s autobiography.
- Ralph Lembo’s Store, Itta Bena, Leflore County, Mississippi
- Riverside Hotel, Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi. Bessie Smith died here in 1937.
- Robert Johnson – Site where Robert Johnson was reputedly poisoned, Leflore County, Mississippi.
- STAX Records – E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
- Sun Records, Sun Studio – 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
- Trumpet Records – Farish Street, Jackson, Mississippi – where the first recordings of Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James were made
- Tupelo Hardware Company – 114 W. Main Street, Tupelo, Mississippi. Where Elvis Presley bought his first guitar in 1946.
- WDIA Radio – Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
- Where The Southern Cross The Dog – Moorhead, Mississippi
- Charley Patton’s High Sheriff Blues and the old Belzoni Jail, Belzoni, Mississippi
Charley Patton’s High Sheriff Blues, recorded in 1934, is about an incident when Charley Patton was incarcerated in Belzoni, Mississippi. The old Belzoni jail where Charley Patton was incarcerated is still standing, but it is in derelict condition.
The Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale was where Bessie Smith died following an automobile collision outside Clarksdale.
Ike Turner and other musicians lived at the Riverside Hotel at various times.
Robert Wilkins’ 1935 recording Old Jim Canan’s is about a raucous nightclub. The inspiration for the song came from the Monarch Club on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. The former Monarch Club is now a Memphis Police station.
For more information, see Preston Lauterbach‘s book Beale Street Dynasty.
Hooks Brothers Photography – 164 Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee
There are only two known confirmed photographs of Robert Johnson. One of them was taken at the Hooks Brothers Photography studio.
Sun Records, Memphis Recording Service, Sun Studio – 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
The US National Parks Service has, quite rightly in our view, declared this a US National Historic Site. The was where the first recordings of Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and so many others were made.
Tupelo Hardware Company, 114 W. Main Street, Tupelo, Mississippi
Elvis Presley bought his first guitar here in 1946. The store is still in business and the interior still looks much the same as it did in 1946.
Where The Southern Cross The Dog – Moorhead, Mississippi
W.C. Handy’s 1914 composition Yellow Dog Blues contained the lyric “Goin’ where the Southern cross the Dog…”
That lyric refers to a railroad junction in Moorhead, Missisippi.
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