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Friday, June 4, 2010

Blues Tour of Mississippi

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, I decided to take a trip to Clarksdale to see the Blues Museum and check out Morgan Freeman’s club, Ground Zero. I had a great time perusing the museum’s collection of guitars, outfits, and other memorabilia. I also had a blast at Ground Zero and the few other blues clubs I visited. If you love the blues and want to check out some interesting sites this summer, come into MLC to check out Steve Cheseborough’s Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues. This book provides some must see sites for every blues fan. One great feature about Cheseborough’s book is that it contains interesting sites from across the state. So wherever you live in Mississippi, you can find a blues site for a great day trip.
Here are a few examples:

If you’re a blues fan living in North Mississippi, Cheseborough suggests a trip to Oxford. Once there, you can visit the University of Mississippi Blues Archive which holds over thirty three thousand recordings. You can also find original posters and films devoted to blues studies. Also, north Mississippians can visit Aikei Pro’s Records Shop. A blues fan could spend hours sifting through old records to find their favorite musician.

If you live in the Jackson area, Cheseborough offers several great suggestions. One of the best, and closest, is the Robert Johnson Monument in Hazlehurst. Johnson, as most blues fans know, is probably the biggest name in blues, so quick trip to Hazlehurst is worth the short drive from Jackson. Fans can also find some blues artifacts housed in the Old Capitol Museum in downtown Jackson and take a trip to Farish Street while they’re out.

Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues is an excellent source for any blues fan looking for a quick trip this summer. Cheseborough also offers some excellent advice for outsiders about how to behave once in Mississippi. My favorite:

“Walking into any bar where you are a stranger can be unnerving. And the apprehension can be magnified when you’re far from home and don’t dress or talk like the other people there, who all seem to know each other. Don’t, however, mistake your own discomfort for real danger. Chances are, the regulars at any Mississippi jook joint or night-club will welcome you warmly, and you’ll have many new friends by the end of the night.”

Now those are words to live by.

Cheseborough, Steve. Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues. Jackson, Ms: University Press of Mississippi, 2001

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