Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rankin Counties Blues Trail Markers (Part II)

Rankin County's three Mississippi Blues Trail markers stretch to the farthest points of the county, all close to the county line.  Only one commemorates an individual, the other two 

1. Piney Woods School.  This marker begins: "The musical programs of the Piney Woods School have produced many fine artists over the decades, including bluesman Sam Myers, who sang in vocal groups while attending a school for the blind located here. The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, a renowned all-female jazz orchestra, was founded at the school, and the original members of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi first sang together here as members of the Cotton Blossom Singers."

2.  Gold Coast.  This marker begins: "This area of Rankin County, formerly called East Jackson and later the Gold Coast, was a hotbed for gambling, bootleg liquor, and live music for several decades up through the 1960s. Blues, jazz, and soul performers, including touring national acts and locally based artists Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2 (Rice Miller), Sam Myers, Cadillac George Harris, and Sam Baker, Jr., worked at a strip of clubs along Fannin Road known to African Americans as 'cross the river.'"

3.  Rubin Lacy, Pelahatchie.  This marker begins: "Rubin Lacy was one of the most talented and influential artists in Mississippi blues during his short career as a secular performer. The grandson of a minister, Lacy was born in Pelahatchie on January 2, 1901. He was a well-known blues performer in the Jackson area and the Delta until 1932, when he put his guitar down and became a preacher. In the 1950s he moved to California, where he died on November 14, 1969. He is buried in Pelahatchie."  * Following the erection of the marker, it was discovered Rubin Lacy is actually buried in Bakersfield, California.

The level of research that go into these markers is remarkable.  I encourage you to explore the MS Blues website and learn more.  One of the Reservoir's own sits on the MS Blues Commission, Bobby Peoples.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is one in Flowood on Flowood drive. Not sure which one that is.