Be sure to visit "Cat Head" if you're ever in Clarksdale. You'll find folk art, blues recordings, photographs, Regional CD's, DVD's, videos, books and magazines, all blues related. Roger and Jennifer also feature performances and book signings in the store.
The marker identifies the Clarksdale lot where W.C. Handy lived in 1903. This was the same year he had the blues epiphany in Tutwiler discussed on page two.
This 1918 brick building of 12,000 square feet houses the Delta Blues Museum. Visitors are prohibited from taking photographs. However, following are a few highlights.
A wax figure of McKinley Morganfield otherwise known as Muddy Waters sits in the actual cabin that was once situated near a cottonfield at Stovall Farms. Muddy Waters and his family were still living in this cabin in 1941 when Alan Lomax arrived with a recording machine.
There are two significant signs on display. The first is from Clack's Grocery. This grocery store was near Lake Cormorant where Alan Lomax recorded Son House in 1941.
The second sign, Three Forks, was originally attached to a juke joint outside of Greenwood where Robert Johnson was poisoned in 1938.
Among the many fascinating exhibits was an arrangement of lotions, potions and elixirs that were sold at the medicine shows of the day.
The Greyhound bus terminal in Clarksdale remains an historic landmark. Many early bluesmen traveled via the Greyhound. It reminded us of the line in Robert Johnson's "Me and the Devil Blues" where he sings "so my old evil spirit can catch a Greyhound bus and ride."
Clarksdale's barber, Wade Walton was a recording artist himself. Among his famous customers were Sonny Boy Williamson II, Ike Turner and Howlin' Wolf.
"Cat Head" delta blues & folk art Roger & Jennifer Stolle, Proprietors
Former residence of Memphis Slim. This property is across the street from Stax.
Old Daisy Theater, Lower Beale Street, Memphis, TN
Stax Records, Memphis, Tennessee
Downtown Clarksdale with an historic clock sign on the bank building. The street sign is John Lee Hooker Lane.
The most successful blues venue in Clarksdale which features regional, national and internationally known blues acts.
Ground Zero, Clarksdale, Mississippi
The Fender Telecaster mounted on the wall at Rum Boogie belonged to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Performing at the Cafe when photo was taken was Bob Margolin of Muddy Water's fame.
The downstairs portion of this building is King's Palace Cafe. The upstairs was once Hooks Brothers, a photography studio where Robert Johnson posed for his 1935 suit and hat photo. This is the doorway which led to Hooks Brothers.
Joan's Beauty Salon, a throwback to the 1930's also across the way from Stax.
Bessie Smith was featured in a 1929 film, "Saint Louis Blues." The first performance was held at the Daisy Theater. There are few shows currently as the theater is essentially closed. The property manager gave me a quick tour.
W.C. Handy, has been accepted as the "Father of the Blues." As a bandleader, we remember Handy for his jazzy, big band sound. His experience at the Tutwiler Depot forever influenced his writing. Thereafter, he wrote many songs with the word "blues" in it's title. He was instrumental in bringing the blues idiom into the mainstream of popular music.
This house on Beale Street was originally located on Jennette Street where Handy lived for over a decade. He moved to New York in 1918.
Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee