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Center of the Blues Universe
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Big Walter Horton, also known as Walter "Shakey Horton," was born in Horn Lake, moved to Memphis as a child and then to Chicago, where he first appeared on the blues scene in the late 1950s. His career encompassed playing blues joints in the Mississippi Delta during the 1920s and 1930s, to studio recording with groups like Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Winter in the 1970s.
The Black Prairie of eastern Mississippi has produced a number of notable Blues musicians, including Howlin' Wolf, Bukka White, and Big Joe Williams. Activity in Columbus, the largest city in the region, centered around areas such as this block of 4th Street, called "Catfish Alley" after local fishermen brought their catches to town to be cooked and sold on the street. Bukka White sang of the good times to be had in town in his 1969 recording "Columbus, Mississippi Blues."
An authentic Mississippi Delta "juke joint" where the world-famous original Bentonia Blues was born and can still be heard. The Blue Front Cafe is considered the oldest active juke joint in Mississippi.
Radio disc jockeys played a major role in the spread of the Blues, boosting the careers of local artists, introducing listeners to performers from across the country, and more generally serving as a voice for the community. Early African-American deejays in Mississippi included Early Wright, Bruce Payne, Charles Evers, Ike Turner, Sherman "Blues" Johnson, Jobie Martin, and Ruben Hughes, who began deejaying in Forest in 1957 at age sixteen and became the owner-operator of Greenwood's WGNL in 1988.
In this cemetery are pioneer Blues giant Charley Patton and fellow Bluesmen Willie James Foster and Asie Payton.
Gravesite of Charley Patton, the founder of Delta Blues.
Church Street catered to every need of the African-American community during the segregation era, when most area residents worked in the cotton fields during the week and came to town on weekends. Church Street (later designated Church Avenue) offered everything from doctors' offices to tailoring shops, from shoe shine stands to ice cream parlors, from Saturday night Blues to Sunday morning church services. B. B. King often played for tips on the street as a teenager in the 1940s.
Club Ebony is one of the best known juke joints in the state. Since 1945, the club has hosted such icons as Count Basie, Ray Charles, James Brown, Ike Turner, Little Milton, Willie Clayton, Albert King, Bobby Bland, Howlin' Wolf, and B. B. King.
The intersection of old Highways 10 and 61 was a popular gathering place for Blues musicians to earn tips.
Benoit native Eddie Taylor was an architect of the post-World War II Chicago blues genre. Eddie Taylor is revered as one of the most influential guitarists in Chicago Blues history. As a child he was influenced by Delta Bluesmen Charley Patton, Son House, and many more.
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