On the Blues trail
There’s one benefit to staying in an unsafe area: there’s security and cops driving around. We got up and chatted with the security patrol (he had an accent to cut with a knife, real Southerner). Apparently there had been some gun shots in the corner around 1 in the morning, but we slept like babies!
We drive North of Jackson on what is the “blues trail” to Memphis. This area is known as the Mississippi delta, the birthplace of the blues.
In farming ghost town Bentonia, the Blue Front was selling house liquor during prohibition and welcomed blues artists like Sonny Boy, Percy Smith and Jack Owens.
In Indianola BB king left his handprint and signature on his favorite corner. It’s where he started playing his music to the public. His hometown is home to the juke joint “Ebony Club” (launched in 1948), where he and plenty of other famous names played, including Ray Charles, James Brown, Ike Turner, Bobby Rush and more. BB king was the king of the blues. In the museum next to his grave, we learn about his career. The blues was born from the sorrow of African Americans working hard in the plantations and being segregated. But it’s a music of hope,giving release to the singer and joy to the public. BB King recorded 40 albums in times of segregation, civil rights fight, Rock and roll birth… Influencing many generations. He died in 2015 at age 90 after years and years on the road close to his fans. The blues and King’s legacy shaped many of today’s music genres and inspired the greatest guitarists (Hendrix, Beck, Santana…).
In Leland, musicians James ‘son’ Thomas and Johnny Winter spent years of their life. The town is also the home of the creator of The Muppets, Jim Henson.
West by the Mississippi, which is also the Arkansas border, is Greenville. The city has long been a gambling resort area, it supported the blues musicians of the delta, giving them a stage and a public. There we go look at the Mississippi, there’s lightning on the Arkansas side. Then in just a few minutes we see a white curtain coming upstream and without any warning we find ourselves in a massive thunderstorm with strong winds, rain and hail. It became a bit scary, where would we find shelter for our van and ourselves? When I looked at my weather app to see the radar images I got alerted of this severe thunderstorm and that the area was in tornado watch. I have nightmares of tornadoes, I don’t want to it to be real. We decide that we need to be in a sturdy building with locals, McDonald’s it is! By the time we get there the alert became a tornado warning with rotating clouds spotted 25 miles south of us, I almost pooped my pants! Looking at the radar and storm tracks it seemed to be avoiding us. We stayed 3 hours in the warmth of McDonald’s, watching the TV and waiting for the big of the thunderstorm to go. The night at Walmart wasn’t easy with gusts of 80km/h and a leak on our roof!