Thoughts on events of the day, growing up in the Mississippi Delta and spiritual growth from author Jessie Haynes.
Hear some of his greatest music and short clips of interviews with the King of the Blues by visiting this link:
The one and only King of Blues, Mr. B.B. King is mentioned several times in the my book, The Grudge Ditch Gang. Here is one of the first references:
“At the very end of South Chrisman Avenue Extended was the last of the nightclubs and certainly the most famous one –the Hole in the Wall. The likes of B.B. King, Bobbie Blue Bland, Son Thomas and other famous blues singers kicked off their careers at the Hole in the Wall. My brothers and I made our money as preteens cleaning up the Hole in the Wall. On Saturday mornings…”
The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened in Mr. King’s hometown of Indianola, Mississippi, just eight years ago. In its first year 30,000 people visit. May 24th will kick off the 35th Annual BB King Homecoming in Indianola. If you get a chance, visit the museum soon and by all means, check out the new and seasoned artists performing. It’s the real deal, not Beale Street and not commercialized.
Mr. King participated in a campaign to help victims of type 2 diabetes beat the disease. Many of the elders mentioned in The Grudge Ditch Gang suffered from diabetes, including my mother, Fannie Lou Hamer and the King of Blues. When I interviewed Mr. King in the late 1970s, he was hanging out with then Fayette, MS, Mayor Charles Evers (brother of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers). I met them in a night club, just after lunch, where he was tuning up what I presumed was Lucille (his guitar) and he shared stories about his life, music and politics of the day. I asked him about his performances in Cleveland, MS, at the Hole in the Wall. He fondly remembered my dad (Dr. Soul as they called him). Check out the book to get more details about Mr. King and other legendary blues artists who were a part of our world in the 1960s Mississippi Delta.
For at least three nights a week, my dad, the truck driver, businessman, d.j. (known as Dr. Soul) woke us up with music, sometimes raw that he was mixing, sometimes already published. The Thrill Is Gone and many other songs of the King of Blues woke up the entire Haynes household, sometimes as early as 5 a.m. on the weekends. To hear some of Mr. King’s music, check out my friend Rojene Bailey’s site Bluestime in the City.