Blues guitarist and singer Terence McArdle works on
the local desk at The Post, and whenever a blues figure
dies, he clamors to write the story.
The music of the Jelly Roll Kings -- Mr. Carr, guitarist
Jack Johnson and pianist/harp player Frank Frost --
was raw electric Delta blues; a reminder of a time when
such music was made in Mississippi and Arkansas' rural
roadhouses, "juke joints" that hosted gambling
and often served moonshine whiskey.
He was one of the last living musicians to have backed
the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) on
the radio in Helena, Ark., and first recorded with Frank
Frost for Sun Records, the legendary Memphis record
label that launched Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
As a musician in an impoverished part of the country,
Mr. Carr spent much of his life as a sharecropper and
tried to strike a balance between farming and his music.
Large scale agribusiness has largely replaced the sharecropping
system in the Delta but many in the region still live
in rural poverty.
Here are some interviews and performance clips with
Mr. Carr and other blues musicians such as Pinetop Perkins,
Jack Johnson and Little Milton from The Delta Blues
multi-media presentation by photographer and videographer
In Gail Mooney's words, "I wanted to tell the
story of these musicians apart from their music. I was
interested in their cultural stories -- about the area
they grew up in, the Delta, and how that gave birth
to their music -- the blues."
The project is by no means finished. She relates some
of her experiences and thoughts about Sam
Carr in her blog.