It was literally a harmonic convergence—the first and last of its kind. Over three hot August nights, eight of Mississippi’s greatest blues artists gathered in Clarksdale, MS, the birthplace of the blues, to make music like no other. From Robert Johnson’s contemporaries to Grammy winners to the next generation, all had great music in common. And it’s all authentic Mississippi blues.
Over three hot August nights in 2005, eight of Mississippi’s greatest blues artists gathered in Clarksdale, MS, the birthplace of the blues, to make music like no other. From Robert Johnson’s contemporaries to current Grammy winners, all had great music in common. Rising star Grady Champion hosts.
The late Pinetop Perkins pounds the piano in this one-hour special, and he sings many of his classic hits of Down in Mississippi and Grindin’ Man, among others. In the second half of this show, many native Mississippi blues greats, including Honeyboy Edwards and Bobby Rush, join him onstage for a jam session like no other.
Kenny Brown demonstrates the driving rhythm of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues, a style which features few chord changes and emphasizes groove. Largely self-taught, Brown learned from neighbor Joe Callicott and became a protégé of the great RL Burnside. Brown shows his slide guitar prowess on classics such as Boogie Chillen and Shake ‘Em on Down.
The late, great Big Jack Johnson performs The Clarksdale Boogie, Bluebird, and several other of his hits. A bluesman who traveled the world but made his home in the Mississippi delta, Johnson is known not only for his popularity as a solo artist but also for his years with the Jelly Roll Kings. His music is often electric and always energetic.
Clarksdale’s own Super Chikan plays one of his trademark cigar box guitars when he performs Tin Top Shack. Like most delta bluesmen, Super Chikan grew up working in the fields and on the farms. He liked the chickens, and he would talk to them—in their language! That’s how he got of his unique stage name. This award-winning artist writes traditional tunes but adds his own humorous twist.
Big George Brock is known for his harmonica—which he began playing at age 8—as well as his rich, gritty vocals. He uses both when he performs You Go, I’ll Go with You, Call Me a Lover, and many more. This Mississippi native, who is also known for his fancy suits and hats, has been a regular on the St. Louis blues scene for many years.
Willie King hailed from the east side of Mississippi and western Alabama. Fascinated by music, he made himself a diddley bow, when he was still a boy. Later, he had a job as a traveling salesman and what he saw lead him to write his “struggling” songs about the Civil Rights Movement. He used his music for the greater good.
The son of sharecroppers, Honeyboy Edwards was an original Mississippi bluesman. He studied with Big Joe Williams, traveled with Robert Johnson, and recorded with Alan Lomax. This blues legend settled in Chicago in the 1950s but toured and performed until close to the end of his life. Just before he died in 2011, the Grammys honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Everybody Knows Who I Am sings Bobby Rush. The Louisiana son of a preacher, who adopted Mississippi in the 1980s, entertains with vocals, harmonica—and incredible stage presence. Whether he’s singing or dancing or playing a musical instrument, Bobby Rush is always entertaining. The multiple Grammy nominee is a member of the Blues Hall of Fame.