The road to New Orleans
My US road trip continued on Monday with a southbound trip through Mississippi to Jackson. En route we stopped at the hamlet of Glendora to take a look at the Emmett Till museum. Emmett Till was a 14 year old African American boy who was murdered after allegedly whistling at a white girl in a grocery store in the nearby village of Money. His murder, the acquittal of two white males by an all white jury, and their subsequent admission to a magazine that they had committed the crime was one of the sparks that lit the Civil Rights movement. The museum is a fitting tribute to this struggle. Further along in Greenwood we took a look at the Tallahatchee Bridge, made famous by Bobbie Gentry, the graveyard where Robert Johnson is thought to be buried and had lunch at the Rib Shack, a roadside barbecue place recommended by Rick Stein.
Driving on through torrential rain we arrived in Jackson and in the evening we went to Hal and Mal's where the Central Mississippi Blues Society hold a weekly jam session. Last year I saw Dorothy Moore there. No such luck this time (although she is expected there next week when we also plan to go) but it was another excellent night, with some great soul/blues from King Edward, the excellent Pat Brown, The Rock and local singers Dorothy Hillard, Erica Brown and Betty Holmes, all of them very good.
Next day it was onwards through Mississippi stopping off to see the blues marker at the Piney Woods blind school, where the Blind Boys of Mississippi and Sam Myers were educated. Next, for lunch, was Laurel, where Ace records' Johnny Vincent began his career in the fifties, and after Laurel we headed, appropriately enough to Hardy Street in Hattiesburg, where I bought some records at T-Bones record store. We carried on to Biloxi where we stayed the night and met up with fellow Woodie Jay McCaddin for a meal at Leo's bar in Ocean Springs.
New Orleans, our next destination, is my favourite city after London and it was good to be back. We spent the afternoon browsing the records at Euclid, which has moved one block, before meeting up with Alan and his brother for a meal of catfish at Mulates where Lee Benoit's Cajun band was playing. Finally we ended up at DBA in Frenchman Street to see Walter 'Wolfman' Washington and the Roadmasters. This was quite a mellow jazzy set with some great guitar playing from Walter followed by a couple of guest singers on stage. One of them was Marilyn Barbarin, who recorded with Wardell Querzerque in the seventies. She still has a good voice and it was good to catch one of the lesser New Orleans names in action.