Mississippi Blues Trail Markers blogs

I was always singing the way I felt, and maybe I didn’t exactly know it, but I just didn’t like the way things were down there-in Mississippi.
Muddy Waters

The Mississippi Blues Trail Markers

Mississippi is the blues, no state has more music history as the The Magnolia State Mississippi. The blues is honored in Mississippi with The Blues Trail markers. It tell stories through words and images of bluesmen and women and how the places where they lived and the times in which they existed, and continue to exist, influenced their
music. not only musicians like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Albert King are part of the trailmark also historical places like the Hi Hat Club, Highway 10 & 61 and Parchman Farm are included.Elvis Presley house Black Bul blues blog

On the Black Bull Blues Blog I’ll try to write some nice pieces about the Blues Trail. For expample Parchman Farm, or Highway 10.

Parchman Farm – Parchman

The Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman has inspired many songs, including “Parchman Farm Blues” by singer-guitarist Booker “Bukka” White, who was once an inmate here, and “Parchman Farm” by jazz singer-pianist Mose Allison

John Lee Hooker Trail Mark
John Lee Hooker Trail Mark

Highway 10 & 61 – Leland

A major source of income for blues artists in the first half of the 20th century was tips. This corner, formerly the intersection of highways 10 and 61, was a profitable spot, particularly on Saturdays when people from the country came to town. Passengers on the “Planter,” a train that ran daily from New Orleans to Memphis, also stopped here to eat dinner and be entertained by Delta musicians.

Blues Blog Jimmy Rogers

“See, I was mostly like a creator – that’s what I was about. Creatin’ sounds.”
– Jimmy Rogers –

Jimmy Rogers Harmonica & Guitar Man

Jimmy_Rogers by Phil Wight blues blog - kopie
Photo: Phil Wight

Jimmy Rogers (June 3, 1924 – December 19, 1997) was a Chicago blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player, best known for his work as a member of Muddy Waters’ band of the 1950s. He also had solo hits on the R&B chart with “That’s All Right” in 1950 and “Walking By Myself” in 1954. A new Blues blog.

Trouble No More Blues

I’m a big fan of Jimmy Rogers, especially the groovy style of his playing. One of my favorite tracks is Trouble No More with Mick Jagger, watch it on top of this blues blog

Rogers was born in Mississippi, raised in Memphis and Atlanta. Jimmy is famous for playing guitar in Muddy Waters band as a guitarist, but he started playing harmonica, what he learned from childhood friend and Chicago legend Snooky Pryor.

Blues band The Headcutters

During the Fourties Jimmy moved to Chicago where he recorded some songs at Harlem Records. But his breakthrough would be in 1947 when he, Muddy Waters and Little Walter started playing together in Waters’s band, The Headcutters or sometimes called The Headhunters. This band defined the style of the Chicago Blues.

Solo-artist Jimmy Rogers

Later in his carreer at the famous Chess Record company Jimmy Rogers started recording as a solo artist and scored a hit with “Thats allright”.

Jimmy Rogers has a Blues Trail Marker in Mississippi. At Sunflower County Ruleville, Churchstreet. More information about the Mississippi Blues Trail marks is cominp on the black bull blues blog.

Chicago Slide Guitar, Elmore James

“Say ‘Play that Elmore lick,’ and everybody knows what to do.”
– Derek Trucks –

Chigago slide guitar Elmore James

Elmore James (1918-1963), often described as the “king of the slide guitar.” James’ electric style built on the approach of Robert Johnson and later influenced many blues and rock guitarists.


When Elmore James started playing Guitar in his teens he had difficulties finding a stage name. So James used multiple names like Cleanhead and Joe Willie James. Eventually James used his fathers’ family name we all know him for Elmore James. Before he moved to Chicago Elmore James King of the Slide Guitar often performed in the Mississippi juke joint alongside famous Blues guys like Arthur Big Boy Crodrup, Bubby Rush, Sonny Boy Williamson and John ‘Big Moose’ Walker.

Major influence

The influence of Elmore James is gigantic, his unique sound, and the rock ´n roll groove. That Chicago Slide Guitar sound developed Elmore in Robert´s Electric shop, where he worked after returning from WW II. He used parts from the shop in combination with his D´Armond pickups.

Dust My Broom

Chicago Blues Elmore James Dust My Broom
Chicago Blues Elmore James Dust My Broom

Politician and entrepreneur Charles Evers owned a number of clubs on the Southside of Chicago where he let Mississippians like BB King, Muddy Waters and Howlin´ Wolf perform. When Elmore James arrived in Chicago he got the opportunity to play in Evers Bluesclubs too. Clubs and therefor the musician where as popular as it gets in those days.

In 1951 James assisted Sonny Boy Williamson as a sideman. But when James started performing as a solo musician a year later, he would become a superstar with `Dust My Broom`. He and his ‘Broomdusters’ were as popular in the Chicago clubs as any of these musicians’ bands. But James was known as difficult, partly because of his alcoholic use during shows.

Hard Blues life

Like many other Blues musicians on this Blues Blog Elmore James had a tough life. He was addicted to whiskey, particularly Moonshine, which he began drinking at an early age and also distilled himself. His two bandmembers Willie Love and Johnny Jones died earlier because of alcohol and Elmore would have difficulties with it throughout his career.

James married three times, and fought during World War II. He was stationed in Guam, fighting the Japanese. During those days, a dysfunction of his heart was found.

After scoring multiple hits, he died in 1963 because of the effects of his third heart attack.

On his Wikipedia page a great story of George Adins, the Belgian Blues fan about Elmore James, he recalled.

George Adins over Elmore James

Muddy Waters took the Belgian blues fan George Adins to see James play in Chicago in 1959,

Elmore will always remain the most exciting, dramatic blues singer and guitarist that I’ve ever had a chance to see perform in the flesh. On our way we listened to him on the radio as Big Bill Hill … was broadcasting direct from that place. I was burning to see Elmore James and before we even pushed open the door of the club, we could hear Elmore’s violent guitar sound. Although the place was overcrowded, we managed to find a seat close to the bandstand and the blues came falling down on me as it had never done before. Watching Elmore sing and play, backed by a solid blues band (Homesick James, J.T. Brown, Boyd Atkins and Sam Cassell) made me feel real fine. Wearing thick glasses, Elmore’s face always had an expressive and dramatic look, especially when he was real gone on the slow blues. Singing with a strong and rough voice, he really didn’t need a mike.

On such slow blues as “I’m Worried – “Make My Dreams Come True” – “It Hurts Me”, his voice reached a climax and created a tension that was unmistakably the down and out blues. Notwithstanding that raw voice, Elmore sang his blues with a particular feeling, an emotion and depth that showed his country background. His singing was… fed, reinforced by his own guitar accompaniment which was as rough, violent and expressive as was his voice. Using the bottleneck technique most of the time, Elmore really let his guitar sound as I had never heard a guitar sound before. You just couldn’t sit still! You had to move…

Alabama Shakes Blues Blog

Alabama Shakes Blues

This southern soulfull blues band is new and rising. Since their debut album Boys & Girls the performed at Bonnaroo, Saturday Night Live  and won a Grammy for best new artist. Therefor a place on the Black Bull Blues Blog.

Athens Alabama

Photo Kim Metso, Alabama Shakes Way Out West 2013
Photo Kim Metso, Alabama Shakes Way Out West 2013

The story of the Alabama Shakes begins in a high school psychology class in Athens, Alabama. Brittany Howard, who had started playing guitar a few years earlier, approached Zac Cockrell and asked if he wanted to try making music together.

A few years later Howard and the Shakes performed in Austin, greating the crowd with `Hello, Austin, Texas. I’m gonna murder you,” huffed singer-guitarist Brittany Howard, stomping her feet as the band launched into “Hang Loose,” a rollicking tune about living carefree.

Blues / Soul / Rock / The Alabama Shakes

Howard, and the shakes formed their band and started writing music after school, sitting on Howard’s floor. “It had that rootsy feel, but there was some out-there stuff.” as the band began playing out, they added more cover songs. They played classics by James Brown and Otis Redding, but also by Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. “We had to find music we could all agree on and figure out how to play together,” says Howard, “and that had a lot of influence on how we play now.”

Sweet Home Alabama

Some great artist were born in Alabama like Willie King, Little Jimmy Reed and Dinah Washington. The most famous song about Alabama is of course Sweet Home Alabama. But J.B.Lenoir wrote a much sadder song the Alabama Blues, released in 1965. “I never will go back to Alabama, that is not the place for me. You know they killed my sister and my brother, and the whole world let them peoples go down there free more sad”. those days are happily over, and The Alabama Shakes would make J.B. Return, i’m sure.

Magic Sam Blues

“…you will like Magic Sam regardless of your previous tastes if you are reasonably ‘aware,’ ‘hip,’ turned on ‘ or whatever your generation’s slang may be for being in touch with humanity and life.”

– Bill Lindeman –

Blues Guitar of Magic Sam

Magic Sam was a young talented guitar player. Like many other legends Sam born in Mississippi, moved to Chicago to play among greats like Mighty Joe Young , Koko Tayloand Buddy Guy, enough reasons to listen to this songwriter who combined flashy guitar riffs in combination with Rhythm ‘n Blues from Chicago.

Sweet Home Chicago

His guitar style, vocals, and songwriting ability have inspired and influenced many blues musicians ever since. In the movie The Blues Brothers, Jake Blues dedicates the band’s performance of “Sweet Home Chicago” to the “late, great Magic Sam”.

Magic Sam Blues Name

Magic Sam was named by his bassplayer, and friend Mack Thompson during the first recording session for Cobra Records. Good Rockin´Sam was already in use by another artist.

Breakthrough Magic Sam and Death

Sam’s breakthrough performance was at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in 1969,[4] which won him many bookings in the U.S. and Europe. His life and career was cut short when he suddenly died of a heart attack in December 1969. He was 32 years old. Sam is buried in the Restvale Cemetery.

Many Blues Musicians from the Chicago Bluesscene are buried in Restvale Cemetary.

Continue reading Magic Sam Blues