Linda and I have just completed two gruelling days on the road (all for your enjoyment!). It is now Tuesday around 8.30am as I write. Sunday we drove for 8 hours (300 miles) and yesterday 12 hours (400 miles. Still, petrol is cheap). As the crow flies it’s about 1000 miles from New Orleans to Chicago. At this rate we will easily double this distance I fear. There are so many blues trail markers I want to visit that there is no avoiding this slog. Even then we will miss out on most of the less significant characters in the blues story. As such I have loads of photos to post, so I will crack on with this and then add a few interesting experiences from the two days at the bottom of this blog.
Two notes to end on:
Prior to visiting the Delta I had expected to find a dirt bowl populated by broken down towns. This is probably because most of the books show the Delta during the 30’s and 40’s through black and white and sepia photos. The reality is quite different, yes the Delta is well named given its remarkably flat terrain. We haven’t seen a hill since Saturday. And because it’s below the level of the Mississippi river it occasionally floods with devastating affect. It is also very hot and humid reaching 30 degrees yesterday. Despite this however it is very green and lush – at least in May. The roads are very good and as mentioned dead straight and therefore easy to navigate. Remarkably despite driving for about 12 hours yesterday it didn’t tire me at all (just in case you were worrying about me?).
I mentioned a few days ago that I had a theory about why the locals haven’t a clue about their famous forbears. And this is it…. Back when these guys were plying their trade, it was done very much on a local basis. Moving from place from place was was extremely difficult given the distances and dirt roads. So they became local heroes playing at Juke Joints (someones Shack cleared out for the night to host a party) and or open air get togethers such as at Dockery’s Farm. Some of them were talent spotted, more of this later, and made recordings of their songs. Some of these records found their way across the Atlantic during WW2 and were subsequently picked up by folks such as Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, John Mayall, Elexis Corner and Eric Clacpton etc in the 1950’s. So it was their love of this music along with the Beatles that was responsible for their revival. Before this period many of them had given up playing and returned to the fields and factories to work. Ironically therefore they owe their modern day fame to the Stones, Beatles and Eric Clapton and they readily acknowledged this fact. So it was a western white mans discovery that gave them their international platform which went onto influence all modern music. Without them there would never have been the Stones etc. The majority of the poor local black folk on the other hand couldn’t give a fig for these people. I mean what did they ever do for them? Hip hop and Rap etc I would say……….but of course I don’t!
Phew, thats enough for today (too right I hear yo say). With apologies for any tiepoos (geddit) etc……….
Off to BB Kings birth place and museum now. Toodaloo!