The first guitar was called ‘wire on the wall’ . Workers on the southern plantations took the wire from worn out mops, and strung them between two nails pounded into the wall. They used rocks wedged on either end as bridges to tighten the wire enough. Then someone decided to pull the board off the wall and lay it on their lap, using bottles as slides. This was called a diddley bow. Flip those words and now you know where Bo Diddley got his name… So much history down here…home of the famed ‘crossroads’ where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in return for mastery of the blues guitar…
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This day trip was really a history lesson in America’s great indigenous musical genre, the blues. Downtown Clarksdale has retained a lot of its original feel. Lots of old buildings, time worn but dignified.
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Started the day learning all I could from Roger Stolle, a devout student of the blues who picked up from Columbus, OH to move to Clarksdale and pursue is passion for the music. In addition to being a walking blues encyclopedia, he books music for Morgan Freeman’s local Ground Zero Blues Club (below), and has launched a fast growing annual Juke Joint Blues festival.
MorganClub.jpg
Continued my education with Robert Birdsong and Bubba O’Keefe – long time locals who have all sorts of great stories. Bubba is renovating the WROX museum – a local treasure and birthplace to many ‘firsts’ including Elvis on the radio. Ike Turner was the janitor. Rows of old 45’s and 1/4″ reels, even the original mic still set up in the upstairs control room. This is REALLY where it started.
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Lots of names: Big Jack Johnson, Super Chicken, Arthur ‘knees’ Jones, T- Model Ford, Wesley ‘junebug’ Jefferson, many guys still around playing gigs.
Loaded up on CDs from Roger’s Cat Head blues store and headed out as the sun was setting to get to Jackson. Really glad to have spent time here – there’s something about just walking on the ground that holds so much. I think Clarksdale is going to go through a significant revival in the coming years.. mark my words.
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Comments

  1. Paul
    May 26, 2006 at 9:13am
    I just read about Pandora in PC Magazine and I thought I would check it out. I have tried other music services and I have been really disappointed in the results. One of my favorite artists is Harry Chapin and when I listen at other sites I get lots of folk music. Of course, Harry was not a folk singer...he was a story teller and he had a unique sound. Pandora introduces me to artists and songs that have the same "feel" as Harry's songs. Some are stories and others just have the right "sound". I am pleased and impressed with this service. I am planning on spreading the word. I am also going to create a new station for "David Allen Coe" and I am quite curious what it is that the Music Gnome Project has in store for me!
  2. matt
    July 25, 2006 at 1:22pm
    I am from north Mississippi and I use the site all the time, thanks for stopping in our neck of the woods!
  3. Joe
    August 04, 2006 at 9:49am
    I see that you have been to the larger cities in Tennessee. Jackson, Tennessee was the home of Carl Perkins. This weekend people from all over the country will be gathering in Jackson for the Rock-a-billy Festival. This festival is an annual event that is held to listen to rock-a-billy music with good food, fellowship and live music. You might be interested in visiting this event sometime.
  4. David
    February 06, 2007 at 8:22am
    Im from Clarksdale live in Memphis now but i love comeing to Clarksdale and hereing you play at Ground Zero,my cousin Casey is a bar tender there.I love the birth place of the blues!!!!
  5. izmir guide
    August 05, 2008 at 5:37pm
    hello all im a musician in izmir and i have my demo on eatinizmir.com/asansor thanks guys..
  6. Pharme468
    November 06, 2009 at 9:45pm
    Very nice site!

Comments are closed.