Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Tales from Mississippi

Our trip continued into Mississippi with breakfast at The Depot in Hattiesburg and a look at a couple of blues markers there, the Hi Hat Club and the Roots of Rock and Roll. From there it was on to Laurel to check out a marker and to Forest, where Arthur 'Big Boy Crudup came from. We stayed overnight in Jackson and went looking for the Queen of Hearts, a juke joint where they still have live blues at weekends. There was no band there but some great music on the juke box. It's a tiny place which was serving takeaway soul food to locals with very few people drinking, one exception being Bluesman McKinney Williams who has recorded a couple of albums.
Next day we had breakfast in Brent's Drugs, a fantastic original forties diner with a soda fountain and turquoise furnishings. Checking out more blues markers we moved on to Vicksburg where there is a large mural along the Mississippi river front featuring local scenes and one with Willie Dixon who came from the town. From there we went to the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia  one of the last remaining juke joints in Mississippi. In the evening, after a beer and burger at the Pig and Pint, we made our now annual visit to Hal and Mal's for the Blue Monday jam session. It was my sixth visit but, unlike others when Dorothy Moore, King Edward or J J Thames had performed, this evening was a bit low key. Regulars Abdul Rashid and Percy, in his gold lame suit, sang and the band was good but the others were rather disappointing with the exception of harmonica player Jock Webb. A good night none the less. Next day we breakfasted at Sugar's, a soul food place where I had no option but to have grits with my eggs and bacon. Reminds me of the semolina I was forced to eat at primary school. Leaving Jackson we had a look at
Kosciusko,where there is a marker for Charlie Musselwhite and where Oprah Winfrey and James Meredith hail from, and Grenada, home town of both Magic Sam and Magic Slim. In the evening we took a chance and went to see Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue at Delta State University in Cleveland. We didn't know what to expect as his fan base is young.  But he's from a well known New Orleans family (his grandfather was Jessie Ooh Poo Pah Doo Hill) so we hoped for some New Orleans funk. What we got was a wall of incessant noise from the eight piece band which included two very loud drummers. Shorty (Troy Andrews) is clearly a talented trombonist and trumpeter but his sound is not to our taste . I recognised Ernie K-doe's Here Come The Girls and Kool and the Gang's Get Down On It, but while the students in the theatre screamed their approval we were unimpressed and left after an hour to go for a much needed drink at the Airport Grocery


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