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Ruby's Nite Spot, operated at this site by Ruby Edwards, was one of the most prominent Blues clubs in the Delta during the 1940s and '50s. Edwards booked nationally-known acts such as T-Bone Walker, Little Walter, and Little Richard, newcomers Ike Turner and Little Milton, and down-home Delta Bluesmen Son Thomas and Eddie Cusic, among many others. Patrons here could dine, drink, dance, and gamble into the wee hours of the morning, long after clubs in nearby Greenville and Indianola had closed.
Sam Carr, Bertha Lee, and Frank Frost Blues Trail Marker is set in Lula, MS where they grew up. All of them made the Blues famous in the 1920's and 1930's. Lee was most famous for recording with and being the wife of Charlie Patton.
Sam Chatmon (c. 1899-1983), a celebrated singer and guitarist who spent most of his life in Hollandale, sometimes performed with his brothers in a renowned family string band billed as the Mississippi Sheiks. He embarked on a new solo career after coming out of musical retirement in the 1960s. Many local musicians have performed here on Simmons Street, known as "the Blue Front," once one of the most vibrant centers of Blues activity in the Delta.
The haunting quality of Nehemiah “Skip” James’s music earned him a reputation as one of the great early Mississippi bluesmen. James (1902-1969) grew up at the Woodbine Plantation and as a youth learned to play both guitar and piano. At his 1931 session for Paramount he recorded eighteen songs, including the dark-themed “Devil Got My Woman” and “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues.” He later became a minister, but returned to performing blues during the 1960s “blues revival.”
Mississippi Blues Trail Marker is dedicated to The Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival, a preeminent showcase for homegrown Mississippi talent, began in 1988 as a promotion to draw area shoppers to downtown Clarksdale. The festival's dedication to presenting authentic blues soon made it a renowned attraction for blues enthusiasts from around the world, as local favorites began sharing the stage with an international cast of guest stars.
The Coldwater area has been home to a wide array of African American singers and musicians, including Chicago-based singer Big Time Sarah (Streeter), R. L. Burnside’s son Duwayne Burnside, soul vocalist Bill Coday, and Stonewall Mays, who often played his guitar on the square here. Guitarist Larry Burton and his brother Aron, a bassist who was born in Thyatira, worked as sidemen with many leading artists, and also recorded albums under their own names.
Tommy McClennan (c. 1905-1961) was one of America's most successful down-home blues recording artists during the period when he recorded 20 singles for the Bluebird label (1939-1942). Among McClennan's most notable numbers were "Bottle It Up and Go," "Cross Cut Saw," "Travelin' Highway Man," and "New Highway No. 51 Blues." McClennan, famed for his raucous, uninhibited singing and guitar playing, frequented this section of Yazoo City when he lived on the nearby J. F. Sligh plantation.
Tyrone Davis, one of America's most popular Soul singers, was born on a plantation near Leland on May 4, 1938. Davis lived in Leland before moving to Chicago, where he began his career billed as "Tyrone the Wonder Boy." From 1969 to 1988 Davis had forty-three singles on the national Rhythm & Blues charts, including No. 1 hits "Can I Change My Mind," "Turn the Hands of Time," and "Turning Point." His aunt and uncle once operated a cafe at this site.
W. C. Handy (1873-1958), the "Father of the Blues," lived at this site from 1903-1905.
B. B. King was first heard on the air at WGRM's studio.
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