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S: Blues Odyssey - October 2010

FC: Blues Odyssey - October 2010

1: For as long as I can remember I've wanted to explore the Mississippi Delta and see where the music known as "The Blues" began. In October, 2010, a year after retiring from General Motors and with the blessing of a very understanding wife I had my chance. I planned a two week trip that would put me at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AR, the first weekend, and the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival in New Orleans, LA, the second weekend, with lots of time in between to explore the Mississippi Delta, the Gulf Coast, and Macon, GA, the home of my favorite band, The Allman Brothers Band. These are the photographs I took on that trip.

3: Pearl, my 1990 Mercedes at a scenic rest stop near the TN, GA, AL border | Getting Started | October 6, 2010

4: Duane Allman worked as a session guitarist here before forming The Allman Brothers Band. Artists who recorded here include Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Joe Tex, Clarence Carter, Etta James, and many others. | Muscle Shaols, AL | Former home of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, started in 1969 when some session artists left Fame Studios to form their own studio. Artists who recorded here include The Rolling Stones, Traffic, Lulu, Boz Scaggs, Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, and many others.

5: W.C. Handy Home - Florence, AL

6: Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway | Lunch Stop in Oxford, MS | October 7, 2010

7: Clarksdale, MS | Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art | Ground Zero Blues Club | October 7, 2010

8: Cotton Gin Inn at Hopson Plantation | This was my home for 4 nights in Clarksdale. I stayed in Bin #4, the middle door in this picture.

9: Views from my porch at the Cotton Gin Inn

10: Scenery at Hopson Plantation

11: Big Dave Dunavent at the Ground Zero Blues Club | The men's room at Ground Zero, clearly designed with the tourist in mind. | October 7, 2010

12: The men's room at Red's, not for the faint-hearted. The handle is broken off so you have to reach into the tank and lift the valve to flush. | Earl the Pearl, down from Beale Street to play at Red's Lounge.

13: Red's Lounge - Clarksdale, MS | October 7, 2010

14: These boys came down from Harrisburg to play at Red's Lounge.

15: King Biscuit Festival - Helena, AR | Big T was a last minute fill-in at the festival. Hey look, that's the Harrisburg boys backing him up. | The guy who took this picture of me came from Salem, OR, to be here. | October 8, 2010

16: Street musicians outside the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, AR. | October 8, 2010

17: Posters for some of the weekend events in Clarksdale.

18: Watermelon Slim at the Bluesberry Cafe | All-you-can-eat spaghetti and meatballs and a show for $10. | October 9, 2010

19: More Slim...

20: Super Chikan at Ground Zero | His all-girl band is called The Fighting Cocks. | October 9, 2010

21: Now the Riverside Hotel, but was the hospital where Bessie Smith died from injuries sustained in a car wreck on Highway 61 in 1937.

22: Side Trip to Tutwiler, MS | The train station in Tutwiler where W.C. Handy first heard the music now known as The Blues. Sonny Boy Williamson's grave just outside of Tutwiler.

23: Cat Head Mini Blues Fest | Terry "Harmonica" Bean | October 10, 2010

24: Cat Head Mini Blues Fest | Scenes inside Cat Head.

25: Cat Head Mini Blues Fest | Red (the owner of Red's Lounge) provided the Barbeque. | October 10, 2010

26: Cat Head Mini Blues Fest | "Big A" Anthony Sherrod and Miss Sharita

27: Cat Head Mini Blues Fest | Big George Brock | October 10, 2010

28: Cat Head Mini Blues Fest

29: Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Hopson Plantation | The Commissary | October 10, 2010

30: Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Hopson Plantation | Bob Margolin Willie "Big Eyes Smith

31: Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Hopson Plantation | Pinetop Perkins | October 10, 2010

32: Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Hopson Plantation | Watermelon Slim in his Sunday best, Bill Wax from XM Radio, and a self-portrait of me concentrating on getting the shot.

33: Pinetop Perkins Homecoming Hopson Plantation | Lightning Malcom & Cedric Burnside and friends. | October 10, 2010

34: Parchman Farm | Driving from Clarksdale to Greenwood, I stopped to take a picture of the prison entrance, but the guard chased me away so I got this shot from Pearl's rear view mirror.

35: Robert Johnson's Grave #1 | One of three grave sites for Robert Johnson, this one at Little Zion Church just outside Greenwood, MS. | October 11, 2010

36: The Red House - Tallahatchee Flats Greenwood, MS | This was my home while in Greenwood, MS | October 11, 2010

37: Inside the Red House

38: Where The Southern Cross The Dog | Moorhead, MS | October 12, 2010

39: Robert Johnson's Grave #2 | This is the 2nd of 3 Robert Johnson grave sites. This one is in Quito. I read a word description of where it is on the Internet (drive down this road 'till you get to a swamp, then turn down dirt road for a little bit, then stop and walk North through a field, etc.) Amazingly I came right to it with no wrong turns.

40: B.B. King's Birthplace | I put too much trust in my GPS. Leaving Morgan City, I told the GPS to show me the way to Indianola. After a few miles of paved roads, I ended up on a dirt road and finally the dirt road quit and I was driving my 20 year old Mercedes across a cotton field on no road at all, still following the GPS. Finally a dirt road picked back up, and after a couple miles I came upon an intersection with this marker. I never would have found it if I had been looking for it.

41: B.B. King Museum - Indianola, MS | October 12, 2010

42: Charlie Patton's Grave | Holly Ridge, MS

43: Back at the Red House | A big storm hit just as I got back from the day's travels and I quickly discovered all the roof leaks. Nothing to do but mix a cocktail and listen to some blues on the porch. | October 12, 2010

44: From Greenwood to Jackson | I left the Red House in patchy fog and followed the Yazoo River down to Yazoo City | October 13, 2010

45: Downtown Yazoo City, MS

46: On the road to Jackson, MS | The Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia and an Indian burial mound in Pocahontas.

47: Mississippi State Fair, Jackson, MS | October 13, 2010

48: Mississippi State Fair, Jackson, MS | 38 Special playing a free show on the midway. | October 13, 2010

49: Vicksburg, MS | October 14, 2010

50: Vicksburg, MS | October 14, 2010

51: Waveland and Bay St. Louis, MS | On the way to New Orleans I drove along the beach in Waveland and Bay St. Louis. This area was literally wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. Even 5 years later the road is still impassable in some areas. Most beach front lots are vacant. I'm not sure that building is, but it looks like the vault from what was once a bank. | October 15, 2010

52: New Orleans, LA | The view from my room at the Drury Inn on Poydras Street. The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is in Lafayette Square Park, just behind that white building. The Superdome is a few blocks down the street.

53: Bourbon Street | October 15, 2010

54: Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | Carol Fran offered the best quotes of the day. After doing a little jig: "Goddamn, everything hurts", and after a saxophone solo: "I don't know who that sax player is, but I'd like to roll him in my wheelbarrow".

55: Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | Don Vappie, Cassie Taylor and Otis Taylor | October 16, 2010

56: Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | Shuler flew in for the festival.

57: Corey Harris | October 16, 2010

58: Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | Shuler got up at 3:00am to catch a flight down here. By the time Taj Mahal closed on Saturday night he had had enough. | October 16, 2010

59: Sights from a Sunday morning walk before heading back to the festival. | October 17, 2010

60: Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | Mem Shannon | October 17, 2010

61: Shuler and me. He looks better after a good nights rest. | October 17, 2010

62: Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | Walter Wolfman Washington, Russell Batiste and Joe Krown

63: Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials | October 17, 2010

64: Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival | Jon Cleary | Barbara Lynn

65: Ruthie Foster closed the show on Sunday. | October 17, 2010

66: Driving the Gulf Coast | A lighthouse in Biloxi, MS; The Shed in Ocean Springs, MS; and a Blue Angel display at a rest stop near Pensacola, FL.

67: The Crab Shack, where I stopped for lunch in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Driving the bridge into Destin, FL. | October 18, 2010

68: Panama City Beach, FL | I stopped for the night at the Legacy Hotel in Panama City Beach, FL

69: After a long day on the road it's time to relax | October 18, 2010

70: Panama City Beach, FL | Watching the sunset from the Barefoot Beach Club. | October 18, 2010

71: Macon, GA | At the H&H I had fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, pinto beans, and rice with gravy, and I had a chance to chat with Mama Louise for a few minutes. The old Capricorn Studios building is now run down and up for auction. | October 18, 2010 | October 20, 2010

72: Macon, GA | 1125 Bond Street where Duane Allman had an apartment in 1969, and 847 & 839 Orange Terrace where Gregg Allman lived in 1971 (847) and 1972 (839).

73: Rose Hill Cemetery | The graves of Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. | October 20, 2010

74: Rose Hill Cemetery | Elizabeth Reed and Little Martha | October 20, 2010

76: The Big House Museum | October 21, 2010

78: The Big House Museum | Duane's 1957 Les Paul Goldtop that he used from March 1969 through September 1970.

79: Berry's famous "Tractor" bass a Fender Jazz. | October 21, 2010

80: The Big House Museum | This was Duane's bedroom from early 1970 until early 1971.

81: The "Casbah Lounge" was used by the band as a getaway or relaxation room.

82: The Big House Museum | Psychedelic jacket worn by Duane on the cover of the Hourglass' first album, an advance check to Duane a month before the Allman Brothers Band was formed, and tape box from aborted Duane Allman solo project.

83: Back to North Carolina | My lunch stop in Madison, GA; a scenic rest stop in SC, and finally I'm back home in the mountains of North Carolina | October 21, 2010

84: TRIP MAP 16 Days 9 States (NC, GA, TN, AL, MS, AR, LA, FL, SC) 2,693.6 Miles 42 Live Musical Acts (that I can remember)


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  • By: Robert A.
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  • Title: Blank Canvas Theme
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