Today was another moving day but since it was only a couple of hours from Memphis to Clarksdale, we decided to go to Sun Record Studios on the way out of town. Sun Record Studios recorded many famous people starting in the early 50s including Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Obison, and Jerry Lee Lewis. There were many, many others and it really became one of the hubs of the Memphis sound. Our tour was probably one of the best we have had the entire trip and it is well worth going a little off the beaten track to find this place and tour it.
We left Memphis and because we had the time we decided to take back roads closer to the River. We first took River Road to Tunica and went to the Tunica Museum. It was an interesting place but the best part of it was a special exhibit of life masks of most of the famous blues musicians. The masks were a project of Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, a Santa Fe sculptor who happens to be blind. There are about 30 masks and also a film called Blind Faith about how she made these masks. They are amazing!
Life Mask of Bo Diddley
We went into Tunica and decided, as I said, to take back roads the rest of the way to Clarksdale. I know you all know what happened next. No, we didn’t get lost in a corn field or a cotton field. This time we got lost on top of the levee and then into a swamp. We found roads that were not only not on the Mississippi map from AAA but were also not on the satellite map of the iPhone GPS. We have now become experts in the road system of southwestern Tunica County, Mississippi, and that, plus $1.25, will get us a cup of coffee. Finally our fearless leader Alan got us out of the maze and onto the right roads. It probably didn’t help that I told him to go east toward the river when the river was west. Oh well, blame it on growing up in New Orleans where there are no directions!
The Levee Road–what you can’t tell is that it is very narrow, about 15 feet high and covered with free ranging cows and horses!
The Swamp we wound up driving through
We got to Clarksdale and were able to check into the B&B early. Since we had not eaten since breakfast, we wanted to get something to eat. First, however, we had to find a jewelry store because I had once again lost an earring and needed to get replacements so that the hole wouldn’t close up. I found a pair of studs and we went to pay for them and Alan discovered he couldn’t fnd his credit card (I had not taken my purse). We went to call the innkeeper to see if Alan had left it when he checked in and found we didn’t have the phone number. The innkeeper had told us where his wife’s store was and we went over there to get the number. When she couldn’t reach her husband, she bundled us into her car and drove us back to the B&B. The card wasn’t in the office and it wasn’t in the room so all of us were about to set out to rewalk the path we had taken before when I thought I would look in Alan’s wallet. There it was, in plain sight, just not where he usually puts it. Ladies, I know that when I say it was in the refrigerator behind the milk, all of you will understand exactly what I mean!
Finally we were able to go get dinner and we had a really good meal at Yazoo Pass Bistro. Then we walked down to Blues Alley and went to Morgan Freeman’s Gound Zero Blues Club. The place is an old warehouse and every inch of it is covered with grafitti, right down to the toilet seats! I wish I had had my camera in the restroom to show you that! It is a rocking place and we were there until almost midnight. That’s the reason for the shorter blog tonight. Clarksdale permits smoking in restaurants and bars including cigar smoking, so our clothes and hair smell like the inside of a bar–get it? The band was high energy and we ran into a couple from Germany we had met in Memphis in a museum and sat with them. We also met a couple from Covington, La. and another couple from St. Louis. There were three or four very long tables of senior citizens from Miami who were just rocking and dancing like crazy! It was a lot of fun!
The Grady Champion Blues Band were the performers. This pictures makes it look very light in the place but it was quite dark in there. It’s just the camera settings I used that causes it to look that way.
Tomorrow we are going to the Delta Blues Museum and who knows what else. We’ll let you know!

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