Wednesday, December 30, 2009

John Busby "RIP"









"Only the good die young" I have heard that said many times. I liked the Billy Joel hit song by that same name. I can't say that I know that it is true. I can say that it seems to happen to offen.
Karr West asked me when I told him the sad news, Who do you think John first went to see when he got HOME. I don't know the answer to that,but, I do think that the first thing John asked was, "Where is the kitchen".
When I first met John I thought that I knew how to cook. I only thought I did. John knew cooking and I learned as much as I could from him.
I think that we will be seeing a lot of very heavy angels from now on. I know that my father will have fun cooking up there with John till I can join them one day.

History of the Cotton Picker

http://www.dafvm.msstate.edu/landmarks/07/fall/4-6.pdf


copy and paste the link to your address line.

RIP David

Museum Mourns Loss of Delta Musician
We are sad to report that David Paul Burchfield died December 26, 2009 following a car accident near Leland, MS. Services will be at 11 a.m. today at the Interstate Baptist Church, Shaw.

David was the leader of the band "The Electric Mudd" and he played professionally throughout the region. He gave guitar lessons to aspiring musicians. David taught classes at the B.B. King Museum and was a popular performer at museum events and programs.

Burchfield was born on July 22, 1977, in Cleveland, MS to James William "Billy" Burchfield and Alma Marlene Bowen Burchfield. He married Nicole "Nikki" Roberson on July 12, 2003 and they have a two year old daughter, Piper Elizabeth.

After graduating from Mississippi Delta Community College with an Associate of Arts Degree in Field Technology, he returned to MDCC to pursue a music degree. David will be missed by his fans, his students, his friends and his family.

An online guestbook may be viewed and signed at
www.rayfuneralhome.net

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reviews from Tripadvisor

“Cadillac Shack Lived Up To Our Expectations”

Shack Up Inn

We stayed for one night on a motorcycle trip through the Blues Country. Everybody who loves Blues or appreciates that the Blues was the beginning of all music should make this trip some day. We really enjoyed everything about the Shack Up Inn. We were there on a Tuesday night and not much happens on a Tuesday in Clarksdale so we missed out on the juke joints (sniff, sniff) and Madidi and almost missed Ground Zero. We managed to hit that for lunch before we left town.

We stayed int Cadillac Shack and were warmly greeted upon our arrival. There was a group staying on a work retreat of some sort and they hired a band. We were invited to come by and listen which we did for a little bit.

The best time we had was when we wandered up to the Commissary and found a nice little bar. The owner and his family were very friendly. We sat for a couple of hours drinking beer and meeting the locals that stopped in. That really makes a trip for us. This was one of our fondest memories of our entire trip.

We enjoyed every minute we were in Clarksdale. I cannot imagine being back in the area with all the other rides to do but if I am I won't be sad to be there. It was a journey that I will not soon forget. Thank you to Robert Johnson and all the other bluesmen/women who blazed the trail to provide me with many hours of listening pleasure. My heart was full and truly grateful for their sacrifices and talents.



“Our most unique trip ever”

Shack Up Inn

Trip type: Couples Even if you see their website, you have to experience this place in person.

Stayed in one of the Cotton Gin bins, the shacks were booked up. What a hoot this place is. The room was all we needed, actually larger than most hotels.

The treat is wandering around the property. Make sure to take it all in. There are unexpected experiences all over in places some people may miss.

We were lucky enough to have found the Commisary open after we got back from dinner at a nice restaurant in town. This place is a cross between a movie set, museum, country store and a honky tonk. We ended up sitting at the bar talking to the bartender who actually is a tour guide in the area and is remarkably knowledgable about blues history. He might have exagerated or embelished some of his stories. But, it was a unique experience to go along with the stay.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Music for  The Holidays at Hopson.
Celebrate The Season With Us!
      Friday December 11 
 Willy Waggs 
Country/Rock Band
  9pm    
Have Dinner With Us
 
 
 
 
 
  Thursday  December 17
Zak Kiker- Acoustic Blues
Solar Porch- Acoustic Blues Duo 
Acoustic Blues Music
8pm
 
 
 
Saturday December 19
Mexican Christmas Party
Bruce Brewer & Deep Water Baptists
Country/Classic Rock Band
9pm
 
                                  
                               Wednesday December 23
Tacky Christmas Party
DJ 
9pm
 
 
 Christmas Night
Friday December 25 
 The Shakerz
Classic Rock Band
9pm
 
                
 New Years Eve
Ring In The New Year with
Radioflyer
Classic Rock Band
9pm
  

Hopson Commissary
PO Box 1486
Clarksdale, MS 38614
(662) 624-5756

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great New Taxi service in Oxford, Mississippi

Here are the photos of his Taxis
Here's the link:http://rockstartaxiandlimo.com/

C A L L: 7 0 1 - 7 0 1 9
Rock Star Taxi & Limo Oxford, Mississippi
Rock Star Taxi & Limo is Oxford's best taxi service. We have awesome cars, and our drivers are awesome. Why ride in Grandma's minivan with a confused old man when you can ride in:
The A-Team Van
Pimp Mobile
1975 Presidential Limo
Many More
Take the party... to the party!
Prices
Anywhere on campus = $6/person
Anywhere off campus = $8/person
Happy Hour is 5PM - 9PM = All rides half price
Call for Sunday rates to Tunica, Taylor, and Colonel's Quarters
Rides
C A L L: 7 0 1 - 7 0 1 9
rockstartaxiandlimo.com

Friday, September 11, 2009

Harmonica Jam Camp

Harmonica Jam Camp Seminars
Photo Slideshow of Jam Camp(Requires the Slideshow Plugin)

If You Love Blues Harmonica and Playing The Blues, Join Jon Gindick and His Coaches in the Heart of the Mississippi Delta for a Blues Harmonica Jam Camp.
A Limited Enrollment 5 Day Jamming and Learning Vacation for Diatonic Harmonica Players-- with a Focus on You, the Fundamentals of Blues and the Joys of Jamming. with Jon's Team of Performing and Teaching CoachesJon Gindick of Los Angeles, blues guitar and harmonica Hash Brown of Dallas, blues guitar and harmonica RJ Harman of Denver, blues harmonica Cheryl Arena of Dallas, blues harmonica and vocals Brian Purdy of Florida blues harmonica Adam Gussow of Oxford,Mississippi, blues harmonica and guitar Guitar Mikey and The Real Thing of Clarksdale, MississippiPLUS about 30 fellow "Campers" from all over the world.Mississippi Delta Jam Camps Sept. 8 -12, 2009 and also March 23-27,2010$995.00 for seminar only.Lodging and Food Very Cheap .
About our Mississippi Jam Camps The Mississippi Camps are held at The Shack Up Inn, 3 miles outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi. If you are flying, you will probably want to fly into Memphis, get a ride, or rent a car to drive down "The Blues Highway" (HIghway 61) about an hour an a half to Clarksdale. (We will help you find a drive-mate.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blues Trail Car Tags

The License Plate Campaign is well on its way to making the next deadline.
The Mississippi Blues Foundation is committed to finding
the number needed to meet the October deadline.
We still need your help to make the plates available January 1, 2010.
The Mississippi Blues Foundation is a 501c3 organization.
www.msbluestrail.org
Click license plate icon in top right corner of website for order form, also.




Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pink Floyd

Acoustic Piedmont guitarist and singer Floyd "Dipper Boy" Council wasborn on this day in 1911 in Chapel Hill, NC.The rock band Pink Floyd got their name from the first names of Piedmont Blues men "Pink" Anderson and "Floyd" Council.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Marshall Drew Band CD Release Party

Hopson Commissary
Sun Aug 23
4-8
Marshall Drew Band
CD Release Party

Friday, August 14, 2009

Robert"Bilbo" Walker Benefit


Benefit show at the Hopson Commissary

Sat August 15

8pm


Robert "Bilbo" Walker's House Burns

CLARKSDALE BLUESMAN'S HOUSE BURNS: Clarksdale-born Robert "Bilbo" Walker's house in his adopted home of Bakersfield, CA, burned to the ground on Monday evening, July 20th, 2009, while he was back home in Mississippi performing and visiting family. It was a complete loss estimated to be $85,000 according to the local fire dept. (27 firefighters worked the blaze.)
Cards and donations may be sent in Robert Walker's name to: Bertha Partee, attn. Robert Walker, 1581 Alan Drive, Clarksdale, MS 38614. Bilbo Walker has recorded albums for the Rooster Blues and Fedora Records labels and was featured in the recent documentary "M for Mississippi." He will perform at Red's Lounge on Aug 6, Sarah's Kitchen on Aug 7 and Do Drop Inn (Shelby, MS) on Aug 8 and 9.



Robert "Bilbo" Walker

Birthdate - February 19, 1937Birthplace - Outside of Clarksdale, MS Current Residence - CA
Robert Walker is a bluesman, he's a rocker, he sings country, he'll even throw in a bluegrass number just to see what happens. He dresses like Liberace, plays guitar like Chuck Berry and his flamboyant style has made him notorious.
He's spent his time paying his dues. He played the clubs in Chicago, the jooks in Mississippi, and road houses up and down the "Blues Highway". Then he took his music to California and started all over again. He loved California so much that he finally moved there. He never forgets his roots though and every few months he packs up his retinue of friends, family, and musicians and makes the 2000 mile trip from California back to Mississippi.
You always know when Robert Walker has arrived in town because it is guaranteed to be a traffic stopping entrance. Whether its an old grayhound bus he's revamped into a Walker mobile or a truck he's temporarily painted up to show who's on board it's guaranteed to be attention getting and as flamboyant as the man who drives her.
His stage performances are full of energy, he dances, prances, and revs up the audience. Whenever he comes to town the jooks are going to be hopping. So if you are traveling through Bobo, Mississippi some evening and you see a large crowd of people going into Thompson Grocery stop and see if Robert "Bilbo" Walker is in town. Then prepare yourself for some Blues.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul RIP



WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Guitar legend Les Paul died today. The guitarist and inventor changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording.He also had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford. He was 94.According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side.
He had been hospitalized in February 2006 when he learned he won two Grammys for an album he released after his 90th birthday, "Les Paul & Friends: American Made, World Played.""I feel like a condemned building with a new flagpole on it," he joked.As an inventor, Paul helped bring about the rise of rock 'n' roll and multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the "tracks" in the finished recording.
With Ford, his wife from 1949 to 1962, he earned 36 gold records and 11 No. 1 pop hits, including "Vaya Con Dios," "How High the Moon," "Nola" and "Lover." Many of their songs used overdubbing techniques that Paul the inventor had helped develop."I could take my Mary and make her three, six, nine, 12, as many voices as I wished," he recalled. "This is quite an asset." The overdubbing technique was highly influential on later recording artists such as the Carpenters.
The use of electric guitar gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1940s, and then exploded with the advent of rock the 1950s."Suddenly, it was recognized that power was a very important part of music," Paul once said. "To have the dynamics, to have the way of expressing yourself beyond the normal limits of an unamplified instrument, was incredible.
Today a guy wouldn't think of singing a song on a stage without a microphone and a sound system."A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called "The Log," a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings."I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut." He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a tradition guitar shape.
In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar.Pete Townsend of The Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string.Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. In 2005, Christie's auction house sold a 1955 Gibson Les Paul for $45,600.

The Bottle Tree




BOTTLE TREES
Felder and a bottle tree at Disney's Epcot Center
The first bottle tree I remember ever seeing - at least the first one anyone explained to me - was alongside a dusty farm road alongside the Sunflower River, which snakes through the heart of Mississippi Delta cotton fields where I was raised. I was fifteen years old.
Since then I have photographed hundreds of these unique landscape accessories, from every state in the South to gardens in the Pacific Northest, Southern California, New England, Midwest, and even in upper Michigan. Plus Europe, South America, and Africa.
Many web sites now mention bottle trees, and quite a few offer them for sale. But most continue to pass around the same tired old history and lore, without getting into the, uh, "spirit" of what they are all about. This page - and my link to bottle tree history - is a partial compilation of many years of observation and research.
For thousands of years, superstition has held that bottles can trap bad spirits at night, which are then destroyed in the next day's sunlight - legends of "bottle "imps" and geniis in lamps originated in Arabia over three thousand years ago, and have been handed down through sub-Saharan Africa, up to Europe, and finally to North America.
For more bottle tree history go to my History of Bottle Trees. See below:
Meanwhile, here are just over a hundred examples of my hundreds of bottle tree photographs; all are original images except for three which were shared by friends.
ENJOY! Or better yet, GET INSPIRED!
Rural Mississippi Bottle Tree

History of the Bottle Tree
In Africa the kongo tree altar is a tradition of honoring deceased relatives with graveside memorials. The family will
surround the grave with plates attached to sticks or trees.
The plates are thought to resemble mushrooms, calling on a
Kongo pun: “matondo”/”tondo” [the kongo word for “mushroom” is similar to their word “to love”].
During the slave trade this tradition migrated to the southern United States where the slaves would place bottles in trees in hopes that the evil spirits
would go into the bottles and be trapped. Once the evil spirits were trapped the slaves would cork the bottles and throw them into the river to wash away the evil spirits.
The Bottle Tree Man has modernized this tradition with his welded wrought iron “Tree” base. What are the advantages? It endures the elements very well, and is removable and can be relocated. Most importantly, the Bottle Tree or Bottle Bush does not sacrifice a live tree for the yard ornament. The bottle tree is based on the belief that the shiny, colored glass can attract and then trap the evil spirits.
It is a beautiful addition to any garden. The colorful glass adorning the “limbs” will catch the light of the sun and will display a
dazzling light show.
My Story

I made my first bottle tree as a favor for my wife after I was inspired by seeing a milk churn filled with metal rods with bottles on the ends. She loved it, and soon word got around and I had more orders than I could fill on my own. I asked a long time friend to help me with the welding, and John Sabin accepted during 1997.
I started the website with help from my son-in-law in late 2005 and had immediate success with visitors and customers from all over the country. In the fall of 2006 John left to pursue missionary work, since then I have been working on my own with occasional help from family
and friends.
I have been having a great time supplying customers with beautiful trees for their homes and businesses. I hope to continue for many years to come!In summer 2008 we are delighted to introduce a new member of the Bottle Tree factory, Lee Stowers
http://thebottletreeman.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tommy Polk




Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Natchez Characters - Tommy Polk 2009 Kisatchi-Delta Regional Grassroots Citizen of the Year
Kisatchie-Delta Regional Executive Director Heather Smoak Urena presenting 2009 Regional Grassroots Citizen award to Tommy Polk Natchez/Vidalia resident Tommy Polk was honored with the 2009 Regional Grassroots Citizen Award at the annual Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning & Development District banquet on July28 at the Main Street Community Center in Pineville, Louisiana.The Kisatchie-Delta Regional Planning & Development District, Inc. is a nonprofit, planning and development agency serving Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, La Salle, Rapides, Vernon and Winn Parishes in Louisiana. The agency provides economic development assistance to the region in order to create and retain jobs and improve the quality of life in the area.This is the third year Kisatchie-Delta Regional has presented the Grassroots award, which is intended to recognize an individual outside of local government and/or the professional field of community and economic development for their contributions with the Kisatchie-Delta District.Polk, a native of Concordia Parish, returned to the area in 2007 following a successful 20-year career as a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee, and in the hospitality industry in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His Natchez guesthouse, Shantybellum, is an adjunct to his guesthouses in Clarksdale. In addition, Mr. Polk has contributed his talents both in business and in music to assist in the revitalization of the music culture in Ferriday, Louisiana. In 2008, Polk received funding from the Louisiana Lieutenant Governor’s office and the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism for the first annual Ferriday Songfest, which was held in October and was attended by songwriting hopefuls from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Mr.Polk was nominated for the award by Concordia Parish Economic Director Heather Malone with a letter of support by Vidalia Chamber of Commerce Director Jamie Burley. “Tommy is always there with a willing hand as well as a smile on his face,” said Ms. Burley. “His kindness and generosity have affected not only me and my family, personally, but also the Kisatchie-Delta Region. It would be nice to have a few more Tommy Polks roaming Concordia Parish." Kisatchie-Delta Regional Executive Director Heather Smoak Urena agreed: “ [Ms. Burley] specifically mentioned Tommy’s enthusiasm, originality, good-natured outlook, and willingness to go the extra mile to help both individuals and the community,” said Urena, “and we are pleased to join her in these accolades.” The award came as a surprise to Mr. Polk, who said, “I’m very honored and deeply touched to have received such wonderful recognition.”Story and Photo by Elodie Pritchartt

Sam Carr Day


Sunday August 9th 2:00PM
Hopson Plantation Commissary

Come join Sam Carr and a lineup of world class musicians at the 3rd Annual Sam Carr Appreciation Day from 2-8 PM. Past performers include James “Super Chikan” Johnson, Billy Gibson, T Model Ford, Robert “Bilbo” Walker, Terry “Big T” Williams,
Mississippi Adam Riggle, 19th Street Red, Bill “Howlin Mad” Perry, Stan Street, Terry Harmonica Bean, The world famous Mississippi Spoonman, and many others. Wait until you all see who all we have lined up this year!!

World Class Entertainment – Great Food – Excitement

This years Raffle and Auction include an autographed Fernandez Guitar, lodging at the Shackup Inn, Merchandise from Delmark Records, Earwig Records, Cathead Delta Records and folk art, Hick’s BBQ and Tamale Shop, Delta Amusements and many other great prizes from local merchants and Restaurants!!


Flyers courtesy of Tricia’s Italian Restaurant and Pie Hole, 226 Yazoo, Clarksdale

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunflower Festival Late Show @ Hopson


Jimbo Mathus

Friday August 7th
Hopson Commissary
10-til



Monday, July 20, 2009

Big George Brock


Big George Brock


BIG BROCK'S 'BLUES BUS' HITS HIGHWAY TO MISSISSIPPI DELTA
St. Louis, MO (7/16/09) -- 50 years after St. Louis-based bluesman Big George Brock left a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, the stage is set for a big return via an old-school 'blues bus.'
"I may be 77-years-old, but I ain't dead yet," joked Brock. "I've got Big George fans older than I am here in St. Louis, so I'm taking some of them back home with me. We're going to have a wang dang doodle down there in Mississippi."
As part of his blues homecoming celebration, Brock is bringing his new blues bus down to the old Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale, Mississippi -- just south of Memphis. He'll be performing a concert there on Saturday, August 8th (10pm) during Clarksdale's Sunflower River Blues Festival weekend.
"It's a big blues weekend in the Delta, so you know Big George just has to be part of it," according to Brock's manager and owner of Clarksdale's Cat Head blues store, Roger Stolle. "Big George grew up just outside of town here, where he worked on cotton plantations, fought in local boxing matches and learned to play the blues from guys like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. He loves to come home and play for visiting tourists and his local fans."
The eternal showman, Brock has never stopped looking for ways to entertain his fans and spread the word about upcoming performances. Three years ago, after he retired his last tour bus, he started renting one as needed. Then, in May, he came across "a deal he couldn't pass up," vowing to buy it and make it "extra special" this time.
"One of my fans here in St. Louis said she'd paint it for me," Brock explained. "I want folks to see that bus, turn around and follow me down the highway to Mississippi. We'll give them a real blues show down there -- not rock or rap -- just pure and natural blues."
Brock's artist-fan is Carol Boss. She's spent much of the past month painting the new bus based on photos by another avowed Brock fan, Joseph Rosen.
"Big George is a really big guy with a really big personality and stage presence," said Boss, who also operates a small design firm in St. Louis. "I just jumped at the chance to try and paint something as big as he is. When I drove it by his house the other day, he was all smiles, and I have to say, it turned a few heads on the drive over."
Boss cites the support of friends, family and C.R.E.W. Construction of St. Louis for helping to complete the big, bus undertaking.
"After they heard about the project, everyone volunteered to help out," recalled Boss. "It's not every day that you get to paint a bus for a musician from the Muddy Waters generation. It was a true team effort and a lot of fun."
Brock's new blues bus hits the highway for the first time next month for his homecoming performance at Hopson Commissary on August 8th (10pm). He'll also perform at the Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art store on that Sunday, August 9th (noon).
To book a reservation on his "Delta Blues Bus Tour," contact Big George Brock at 314-531-9207. For more information on Hopson Commissary, go to http://www.hopsonplantation.com/. View Brock's upcoming concert schedule at http://www.cathead.biz/. Visit Carol Boss Art at http://www.carolbossart.com/.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Duff and the Moonbeams

Duff and the Moonbeams
Hopson Commissary
Hwy 49 South
Sat July 18th
9-1

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Clock



The Clock

Thank you Chuck Lamb for the great picture of the clock.

Losing the clock is a grim reminder of our fate
For Clarksdale my friends, it may be later than we think. Our town has endured an acute, 20-year social and economic decline, which has left in its wake a bone yard of iconic tombstones.
By RANDALL ANDREWS
Monday, March 20, 2006 3:00 AM CST
Now defunct buildings and signage remain where once-thriving businesses used to open their doors, six days a week. The sounds of old National cash registers ringing, car doors opening and closing, and the clomping of busy feet stepping with purpose and verve have slowly faded into a surreal echo in our memory's' ears.

Today, those ambient trumpets of commerce and prosperity have been replaced by the chilling winds of uncertainty and desolation. In essence, our downtown becomes a ghost town around 6 p.m., each day. And those monikers of yesteryear-The Alcazar/Central Building, Okun's Shoe Store, Williams Rexall, etc.-- are left alone to endure another long night amidst a scene straight out of the Twilight Zone. They seem to await their eternal peace, where they can finally join their friends in Old Town Heaven. The Paramount, original Elks Club and Woolworth's will be there with a host of others to greet them. And now, thanks to our neighborly friends at AmSouth Bank, one of Clarksdale's most valuable and definitive landmarks has been quietly sent out to a similar pasture. (Drum roll, please!)............

The Coahoma Bank Clock no longer oversees the corner of Yazoo and Third. London has Big Ben, New York, Times Square. For over 50 years, Clarksdale has had the Coahoma Bank Clock. Despite this comparison and truth, the cherished and ornate clock was quietly removed last Friday afternoon by AmSouth, without a word, and destined for the junkyard. No plans for its removal or announcement of the bank's intentions were made to Clarksdale. In my opinion, this act is comparable to that of flying a crop duster into the old Quaker Oats building. A thousand hats should go off to Ronnie Drew for saving it and relocating the clock to Hopson Plantation. At least it is in safe keeping for now.

The only thing more troubling than the act itself is the blatant indifference attached to its execution. Make no mistake, Clarksdale. This is about far more than nostalgic musings and corporate callousness, where both history and heritage are concerned. This is the straw that should break the Camel's back. This is about everyone in Clarksdale needing to take heed to the fact that our history, heritage and downtown are the very resources that can not only save, but also revitalize our economy AND this piece of unique soil that we all call home. We are called as a community to rise to a great challenge at this moment in our history.

For far too long, Clarksdale has been at war with itself. Racial and social divisions have joined hands with laziness, indifference, and complacency. The results have been endless bickering and ultimately, crippling atrophy of the limbs of progress. In the interim, our downtown-the beating heart of any city-has seen too many attitudes harden and too many arteries of potential blocked by stubbornness and the red tape of personal and political agendas. There are many citizens struggling daily to build bridges to the future, but it will take everyone to gather the stones required for the task. What time is it, Clarksdale? The answer is as clear as the glass on that old, broken clock. Now is the time!

We are all in the same boat, floating on the same muddy river, and it would serve us, our history and our heritage, if we could all start rowing in tandem and develop a solid vision of how to resurrect the Phoenix that is Clarksdale. Otherwise, this boat is destined to remain spinning in circles, going nowhere, while progress finds safer harbors all around in other towns like Tunica, Greenwood, Hernando - even little Como. Most of these places are associated with revitalization programs designed to provide grants and other funding to inject life and commerce back into the veins of the architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the communities who occupy them in the 21st. What time is it, Clarksdale? It's half past doing it, and a quarter before too late. Every time we raze another historic building. Every time we stand by and say, "What a shame", or even worse-say nothing at all, we only strengthen those haunting winds that sail down Delta, Yazoo, and Third. The whole world is fascinated with Clarksdale's history, cotton, blues and our ties to such literary icons as Tennessee Williams. We are an economically un-tapped enigma with epic potential...and only 42 minutes from the front doors of Tunica's airport, which will soon be receiving commercial flights on a regular basis. Can we afford to let one more chunk of our charm and history be ripped down and tossed into a museum, lest we become a museum ourselves?

When I was informed of the clock's ill fate, I had to go see it for myself. Sunday evening around midnight, I found myself alone at the gates of AmSouth, under a near-full moon. Only the whistling wind and the clapping of The Big Pink Guest House's gate could be heard. But as I gazed up at that huge hole in our history, I thought about Coahoma Bank and my very own father's 23-year tenure there. I began to remember watching the annual Christmas parade from the corner window just above that clock. Soon, I could hear marching bands, car horns, and Early Wright broadcasting from just across the street at WROX. And just for a minute, I could hear the soothing, hourly chimes of that grand, old clock. I could smell the aroma of the Wonder Bread Bakery. I could see the faces of people walking into The Den for a nice dinner, into the Cream Boat for a scoop, and I remembered the old folks sitting in the lobby of the Alcazar/Central Building. These chimes at midnight in my head made me think that perhaps we need to be reminded of exactly what time it is.

Perhaps we have needed an uber-entity such as AmSouth, who doesn't even list a local number in the phonebook, to rip down an old clock, thus pulling the wool from our eyes in the process.

How much community uproar, and how much money do we need to come up with to restore and reinstate that clock to its rightful place? To make a statement and demand a turn in our history and course? I am suggesting that we do just that, and offering the notion that the Coahoma Bank Clock might well serve us all as an hourly reminder of what a community can do, if it is wound tight, well-oiled...and ever aware of exactly what time it really is.

Randall Shaw Andrews is a Clarksdale-born writer, chef, photographer and producer.

Chuck Lamb
662 902-7105
lamb_cn@hotmail.com

Friday, July 10, 2009

Music at Hopson

Duff Dorrough


Jerry Lee ‘Duff’ Dorrough was born in Memphis Tennessee and raised in Ruleville, Mississippi, the Heart of the Mississippi Delta. Raised up with Blues, Country, Gospel & Pop musical influences, he sang and played drums with local bands throughout high school and college.




The core of Delta musicians that began as The Sausage & Biscuit Boys soon morphed into The Tangents in 1981, featuring Duff with piano man ‘Fish’ Michie and sax player Charlie Jacobs. They stormed the honky tonks from Memphis to New Orleans to the Western states.





Duff formed The Revelators in 2001 with Bobby Harris and Jim Ellis from Drew, Mississippi and the group appeared regularly on Oxford’s Thacker Mountain Radio. The Revelators cut their self-produced cd at Sounds Unreel in Memphis in 2002.




In 2004, Duff released Peace In The Lily of the Valley on Black Dog Records and was invited to join Jim Dickinson in the Thacker Mountain House Band, The Yalobushwackers.

He lives on Sunflower River in The Mississppi Delta and continues to play and record.


http://cdbaby.com/cd/duff

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Music at Hopson

http://hopsonplantation.blogspot.com/

Italian Club


This is the old Italian Club just outside of Clarksdale Ms. This building is owned by Charlie Monty of Clarksdale. Ronnie Drew(known at Hopson as Donnie Rew) has told me many stories about his good times that he had in the Italian Club back in the 70's.

It is sad to see the building empty and rotting down because it played a big part in the history of the early Italian settlers in Coahoma County.

I have been told that when the early settlers arrived in Coahoma County they needed a support system because they were looked down on as second-class citizens in the area. They were here as farm workers.

The Italian club gave them a place to go to enjoy themselves and to be with other Italians in the area. They worked hard and slowly bought land and are now some of the largest landowners in the area. A real success story and I think that this building may have played a part in their story.

I would love to see some of the stories of events or memories that others have of this building. My only memory was to attend a band practice of the Remains, Ronnie Drew, Tommy Hubbard, Terry Moore, Bird Elliott, and Rich Wall.