one thing at the Delta Blues Museum: it's
"Muddy Month!" It's the 100th anniversary
of the great blues master (b. April 4, 1913) who grew up
on Stovall Farm, near Clarksdale, and created the music
now heard around the world. We've got a lot going on at
the Museum to celebrate this milestone, thanks to generous
support from Covenant Bank, Shack Up Inn, Atmos Energy,
the Mississippi Arts Commission, and the Mississippi Humanities
Council . . .
first, an important announcement: the Delta
Blues Museum has been named as a finalist
for the 19th annual National Medal for Museum and
Medal is the nation's highest honor given to
museums and libraries by the Institute of Museum
and Library Services for service to the community
and for making a difference in the lives of individuals,
families, and communities. We're honored to be named a finalist;
winners will be named later this month. Check our Facebook
page, Twitter (@DBMClarksdale), and our website
for the results. Thanks for your support in helping
make the DBM "the winner" we already are!
Now, about Muddy
Month: On April 4 we celebrated his 100th birthday
at the Museum. Visitors enjoyed cupcakes and toured our
newly constructed Muddy Waters Addition,
including the cabin in which he grew up; a replica of the
car that folklorist Alan Lomax drove to make the first recordings
of his music; the "Muddywood" guitar made from
wood from the cabin and donated by ZZ Top; and numerous
photos, guitars, and other exhibits related to Muddy Waters'
life and music. In the evening, the DBM Band
played at the Pinnacle as part of Coahoma Community College's
Cultural Awareness Concert in conjunction with their Cultural
Photo Credit: Lee
Photo Credit: Christopher Coleman
Photo Credit: Lee
On April 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm, Robert
Gordon will talk in our classroom on the life and
times of the legendary Muddy Waters as the latest speaker
in our "From the Archives" series. Gordon authored "Can't
Be Satisfied", the definitive Muddy Waters biography.
The talk will be followed by a book signing.
You can learn more
at the "Follow Muddy" section of our website:
Whether viewing our
online Store or visiting our Gift Shop in person, check
out these new tees and our other "Muddy merch": a biography,
classic CDs and DVDs of live performances, Muddy "Blues
Blend" Coffee, and a Muddy poster. To order, click
here. Sales of these products support our mission to
preserve the history of blues culture.
you checked us out on Facebook?
Over 8,000 of our supporters have.
Sign up, "like" us, and join the blues talk that goes
on there non-stop.
There's a whole lot
of activity planned for this year's 10th Annual
Juke Joint Festival on April 13th (see schedule
below). We're starting early by being honored with a Mississippi
Blues Trail Marker, to be dedicated on April 11th
at 5:00 pm, followed by a reception with music by the DBM
Band. We'll present blues by Big Jon Short at 1:00 pm and
3:30 pm in our classroom on Friday, April 12th, and music
all day on our stage on Saturday, April 13th; our DBM
Band plays at 3:00 pm. We'll also be open on Sunday,
April 14, with special hours, from 1 to 5 pm. Come on down!
Have you bought a
DBM Blues Brick yet? The bricks are set
into the walkway between our new Muddy Waters Addition
and the Museum's main entrance. These Blues Bricks are a
literal foundation for our mission, with the dollars from
the donations of $50 per brick and by making a special path
on our grounds to honor our many supporters. To those who
are already included on this blues pathway, thanks! Order
here. (Note: all bricks purchased prior to April 1,
2013 have been installed into the walkway.)
Credit: Lee Pharr
A personal note: I received a "Keeping
the Blues Alive" Award from the Blues
Foundation at an event in Memphis on February
1st. Along with 14 other individuals and organizations
(including Clarksdale's Stan Street) KBA Awards were
presented to "individuals and organizations that have
made significant contributions to blues music." The
KBA Award is a tribute to what we do every day here
at the Museum: serve the blues culture and the musical
artists who created it and who carry on the tradition.
Photo Credit: Kaati Gaggney, Blues Festival Guide
The latest media to
notice our efforts is the Huffington Post.
In a comprehensive and insightful series of articles, Debra
Devi describes the history and current state of
the blues throughout the Delta and especially in Clarksdale.
Devi is the author of "The Language of the Blues",
"one of the wittiest, bawdiest, most fascinating dictionaries
ever." We hosted her during last fall's King Biscuit
Festival, and are pleased to see her comments about
the Museum in HuffPo: "At my book signing at the beautiful
Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale -- which is the state's
oldest music museum and the pioneering heartbeat of Clarksdale's
blues tourism business -- I ran into many tourists from
around the world thrilled to be tracing their musical heroes'
footsteps." You can read
here. To order "The Language of the Blues",
(we have signed copies!), click
Get your mojo
workin' and come visit us during Muddy
Month. Experience for yourself the magic of Clarksdale's
Delta blues history in our galleries.
Thanks for your continued and future support!
This newsletter is supported in part
by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state
in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal
exhibit features photos by Michael Scanlan
taken from the film of the same name. Prints of these
photos are available for sale. A portion of the sales
proceeds go to support the DBM Arts & Education
program. Check with the DBM Gift Shop for
of posters that spans the 25 years of the annual Clarksdale
event. Lots of names, lots of color, lots of archival
photos - a lot of blues history in two dozen posters.
features photos from the book of the same name by
pioneering southern folklorist William Ferris
who toured Mississippi in the 60s and 70s, documenting
African Americans as they spoke about and performed
the diverse musical traditions that form the authentic
roots of the blues. Here are the stories of blues
musicians who represent a wide range of musical traditions--from
one-strand instruments, bottle-blowing, and banjo
to spirituals, hymns, and prison work chants.
The music photographer
who helped rediscover House in the '60s and who managed
his concerts during that era's blues revival. For
more on House, see our "Follow Son House"
web feature section of our website:
Tenth Annual Juke Joint Festival, April 11 - 14,
April 11th at 5:00 pm: DBM MS
Blues Trail Marker Dedication unveiling followed
by reception with DBM Band
April 12th 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm: Hill
Country Blues and Delta Blues, Big Jon Short, Arts
& Education Classroom
| All Day: Music on DBM Stage
11:30 am and 1:00 pm: Jugglers
2:00 pm: W.A. Higgins Rock Ensemble
3:00 pm: Delta Blues Museum Band
| 4:00 pm: Stax Music Academy
5:00 pm: Delta Roxx
6:00 pm: Ol' Skool Revue
April 14th: DBM special Sunday
hours, 1:00 pm. - 5:00 p.m
April 18th: Retirement party for Dr.
Vivian Presley, President, Coahoma Community College.
Open to public
April 26th 4:00 pm: In our latest "From
the Archives" speakers series, Robert Gordon,
author of "Can't Be Satisfied",
the definitive Muddy Waters biography, speaks on the life
and musical times of the legendary musician, followed by
a book signing.
annual Delta Literary Tour visited
Clarksdale on March 20th to experience Clarksdale's
blues culture and the related world of playwright
Tennessee Williams. Visitors took
a "Clarksdale Stroll" including
a visit to the Museum; toured St. George's Episcopal
Church former rectory where Tom Williams lived with
his grandparents; and viewed scenes from A Streetcar
Named Desire performed on the porch of the Clark House,
home of the playwright's childhood friend. The annual
event was sponsored by the Center for the Study of
Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.
The 2013 Tennessee Williams Festival,
sponsored by Coahoma Community College, is scheduled
for October 4 - 5, 2013.
Susan Puckett, author
of "Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler's Journey
Through the Soul of the South" stopped by
to visit and Museum on March 15th and signed copies of her
book. Part travel guide, part cookbook, and part photographic
essay (photos by Langdon Clay), "Eat Drink Delta"
offers dozens of tested recipes, including the Memphis barbecue
pizza beloved by Elvis and a lemon icebox
pie inspired by Tennessee Williams. It
also "reveals a region shaped by slavery, civil rights,
amazing wealth, abject deprivation, the Civil War, a flood
of biblical proportions, and-above all-an overarching urge
to get down and party with a full table and an open bar."
Photo Credit: Christopher Coleman
Billington, 77, blues musician and educator.
Billington started the Arts and Education program
at the Museum, and went on to found the Delta Blues
Education Program. He received several honors for
his work in educating Delta youth, including The Blues
Foundation's "Keeping the Blues Alive" Education Award,
the Sunflower River Blues Association's Early Wright
Award (for preservation of the blues), the Mississippi
Arts Commission's Folk Arts Fellowship, and the Artist
Achievement Award from the Governor's Awards for Excellence
in the Arts.
Photo Credit: arts.state.ms.us
"Rat" Ratliff, 70 owner-proprietor of the
historic Riverside Hotel where Bessie Smith died (when
the building was a hospital), and where a "Who's Who
of blues musicians have stayed and played, including
Ike Turner, Robert Nighthawk, Sonny Boy Williamson
II, John Lee Hooker, Pop Staples, Sam Cooke, the Original
Blind Boys, and many, many others. Blues musicians
found lodging-and a home at the Riverside. Many recent
visitors to the Museum have received the full Clarksdale
blues experience by lodging at the Riverside, down
on Sunflower Avenue, with commentary on all things
blues by the welcoming "Rat."
Photo Credit: Roger Stolle
Slim, 75, born Morris Holt, one of the last
in a long line of musicians who grew up in the Deep
South and then moved to Chicago. He was known not
just for his musicianship but also for the intensity
of his live performances. His music has been described
as "the in-your-face variety" of blues.
Photo Credit: John M. Sheppard
Tillis, 83, longtime co-chairman of the Sunflower
River Blues and Gospel Festival, avid supporter of
the Delta Blues Museum, and friend. Tillis co-founded
the Sunflower River Gospel Association with the late
Julius Guy, and was acquainted with many musicians
including Bobby Rush, Little Milton Campbell, Clayton
Love, and others who played often at his business,
the Rivermount Club. He played trumpet with many of
Clarksdale's early musicians including Ike Turner's
first hometown band. When asked about the experience,
he said with a smile, "Actually, Ike played with us."
Community leader, educator, businessman, athlete,
coach, historian, and chairman of the Clarksdale Public
Utilities Commission for 15 years, he will be missed.
To honor his contributions to the community, the Delta
Blues Museum Stage was dedicated to him on March 11,
Photo Credit: Panny Mayfield
Blues Museum Band performed in a parade on
January 5, 2013 in honor of Martin Luther
King Day. Our float was made possible by
assistance from Lenora Commer, David and Leah
Carr, and Commissioner Buster Moton. The
event was co-sponsored by the Isle of Capri
Hotel/Casino in Lula.
Photo Credit: Lee Pharr
DBM Band also performed on January
31, 2013 for Thacker Mountain Radio,
a live radio show featuring music and author's readings
broadcast from Oxford, then distributed on Mississippi
Photo Credit: Lee Pharr
DBM Band's first CD, From Kansas City
to Clarksdale, Vol. 1, is available
from the DBM online Store--just $10! Order your copy
We are in full
Muddy mode at the Gift Shop. Check out our new
Muddy tees, with great images of the blues
legend in performance by noted music photographer
Bob Gruen, and a distinctive
"Hoochie Coochie Man"/DBM logo on the front pocket
area. Make your "Muddy Month" statement by
wearing one of these new tees. Order
Check out the other "Muddy Merch"
we offer: The Original Plantation Recordings
(CD); Classic Concerts (DVD); Can't
Be Satisfied, the definitive biography; Muddy
"Deep Blues Blend" coffee; and a portrait/poster.
View the "Muddy
Merch" section in the on-line store.
also have Highways 61 and 49 pins
back in stock. Our last shipment sold out, so order
now! These metal pins mark the highways that meet
in Clarksdale at "The Crossroads".
And they mark the wearer as a solid blues supporter.
Sold only as a set.
now for something really new: a silver and blue metal
Crossroads pin that adds a guitar
to the Crossroads' Highway 61/49
signs. These pins will be collector's items, so order
is another book that makes
a perfect gift. With 100 large color photos of blues
sites and events in and around Clarksdale, and an
essay by blues historian Scott Barretta, it shows
that the blues are alive and well in the Delta.
All items available through our online
Be sure to visit the Delta Blues Museum
Shop for additional items and memorabilia.
|Delta Blues Museum
Board of Directors
William H. Gresham, President
Yvonne Stanford, Secretary
Return to the Delta Blues Museum
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