Memphis is blues country. It is a city
surrounded by the countryside of cotton
farms. And that is where the early
generations of blues musicians came from.
The area is both very different today and still
tied to the past.
Less than an hour's drive from the city are
several places that we can see on a blues
More blues musicians probably lived near Clarksdale than in any single town in
the delta. It bills itself today as the "Crossroads of the Blues." In myth, certain
blues men sold their soul to the devil in return for their talent. Clarksdale was
at the junction of highway 49 and 61. When thousands of sharecroppers and
laborers picked cotton by hand, this town was the place to go to spend their
Helena is one of the old towns along the Mississippi River. Most people refer to
the Mississippi delta as that flat, cotton land east of the River. But the land on
the west, in Arkansas, is just as flat and tied to cotton. It is also part of blues
country. Helena's most famous event is the creation of the first radio show to
feature blues artists, "The King Biscuit Time" named after its
advertising sponsor. The station and show still exist after 60 years. Blues
history is the feature exhibit at the town's Delta Cultural Center.
Look at this website to learn about blues music community today.
I also took photographs of many communities where blues history took place. Look
for photo sets of Greenwood, Clarksdale, Helena, Tunica County and more.
Hopson Plantation is a working farm.
It is a landmark. Here is where farm
machinery changed cotton agriculture
and a way of life in the South. It is an
unofficial museum and a quirky bed
and breakfast. Every October it hosts
a music event, the Pinetop Perkins
Tours to Tunica - Clarksdale
and Helena are $95 a person,
not including admissions. Tours
start in the morning and return
before sunset. This is not a night
time, visit the juke joint tour. It is
a tour to see historic places, read
the blues trail markers, experience
the Delta country for a day.
Greenwood, Itta Bena (where BB King has
opened a wonderful museum) and other Iconic
blues communities are further away from
Memphis. Visiting there places require more
travel time and so a higher tour price. contact
us for more details.