From Clarksdale to Indianola -B.B. King’s hometown- is slightly further than 60 miles. My Red Nissan is fuelled up for less than $ 40 and I ride over the old Blues highway 61 to the south and, after an exit, on US 278. A visit to the B.B. King Museum -past and present of the blues come all together here: B.B. King is still Blues touring!- is on today’s program.

 

 

The museum is rather new and tells the history of the Mississippi Delta, the River, the plantations and its inhabitants. One of them is Riley Ben King, better known as B.B. King all around the world. The lady at the front desk draws attention to the fact that in about five minutes the last day presentation of the movie about the life and the blues of the Living Legend begins. So that when I walk into the museum immediately, I am going to miss it. “I would most certainly like to see that movie. How thoughtful of you! Can I wait here this long?” She nods. To fill that time, she says: “I do not think you are the type of person expecting to see B.B. King here in person, do you? Many people think so! But he is, as usual, on a world tour again!” “No, ma’am”, I say, “I don’t expect that. I am on tour myself. Did you know that?”  “No, I did not, where are you from?” the woman demands with a smile. I tell her. She says: “Will you write that in the visitors’ book, before you leave the museum,  please?”

It is a beautiful movie about the Delta and about B.B. King: from a very youthful tractor driver until the elderly world star he is today. Beautiful are the shots (and great is the sound) of his blues concerts from all continents and with different bands. With a extensive interview full of striking statements, explanations and quotes from B.B. King himself, which runs like a thread throughout the movie. It tells the story of the long life of a proud and engaging man.

In each room of the museum is, next to all kinds of B.B. King collector’s items -a few of his guitars, some gold records, glitter suits, special photos and -events, radios, jukeboxes with authentic vinyl records and many more- an old black and white movie to be seen. Fortunately, because I am in the Delta to learn more about and sniff around in these (crisis) years of the thirties and forties. Its cotton industry, floods of the Mississippi River, the migration to the North (and often back to the warm South) and the development of the Delta Blues so far. I find its history and the old blues music itself at least as interesting as our latest decades. Both are here.

The Museum is definitely a must and $ 15.00 entrance fee is absolutely a rich value for money. I effortlessly spend two hours here. Purchases in the souvenir- and gift shop -B.B. King’s knickknacks  (with the exception of CD’s and DVD’s) like t-shirts in various colors, sizes and imprints, beer-, tea-, and coffee mugs or cups, records, posters, books, key rings, I can easily withstand; I find this private picture (Yes, I was allowed to take it!) of a colorful B.B. King painting just about right.

 

B.B. King plays on Lucille.

The lady behind the reception desk tells, while I am writing an enthusiastic little story, my name and origin in the guestbook, that next year will be B.B. King’s last “home-coming”. “You do know, that this is always on the first Friday in June? He hopes to become 90 years and then B.B’s almost perpetual world tour will finally come to an end!”  [1]

 

Another “Lucille”.

When I press the start button of my car, ready to go back to Clarksdale  -every night there is at least one blues band playing live!- I all of the sudden end up before a three forked-road in Indianola-Center. Which one is the shortest way to Clarksdale? Is it US 278 East of US 278 West?  No problem, on the porch of her home, out of the sun, a woman of about my age watches me from her rocking chair. So I step out of my car and call, while walking into her direction: “Ma’am, can I ask you a question? And: “No, no, I am not going to ask you to marry me!” She shouts with pleasure: “Waaah! I was just lookin’ for a gooood man…! Sure baby, you can ask me anything!”   Problem solved: It is 278 East:  “Until you hit the new Highway 61. Go North!” she says, waving an arm in that direction. She hugs me -it looks like we know each other for years- and sits back on her rocking chair again: “Have a safe trip! I love you!”

Thus my Blues Tour continues, I am on my way, the right one!

 

Should you like to read BB KING’s Biography, click here, please:   Amazon.com

 My tip: Listen to his music, click on: Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Unfortunately B.B. King passed away on May 14, 2015.

2 thoughts on “Blues Tour

  1. I have enjoyed reading this article, Amazing, I love music, and this Was a bonus for me, Hope to Go to Amazon and check out his Bio.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read one of my stories, Cinderella. The book will be great to read. You should try and listen to (one of) his concerts you can easily find on You Tube. BB King “Live” in the Royal Albert Hall.
      Did you know I am a Blues & Boogie Woogie Adept since I was 22?
      Thanks again,
      Johan Wijngaarden

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