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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Belzoni in Humphreys County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Turner's Drug Store

 
 
Turner's Drug Store Marker (Front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, September 14, 2014
1. Turner's Drug Store Marker (Front)
Inscription.
Front
The names of Turnerís Drug Store (located on this corner) and the Easy Pay Store across the street are etched into blues history as sponsors of some of the first radio programs in Mississippi to feature Delta blues. In 1947-48 stations in Yazoo City and Greenville began broadcasting live performances by Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2 and Elmore James from Belzoni via remote transmission. Williamson, James, and other musicians often performed outside the stores, and inside the Easy Pay as well.

Rear
Sonny Boy Williamson, also known as “Rice” Miller, was already an established blues radio icon famed for his “King Biscuit Time” program in Helena, Arkansas, when he began broadcasting over Yazoo City station WAZF on programs sponsored by the Easy Pay Store and Tallyho, an alcohol-laced vitamin and mineral tonic produced at Turnerís Drug Store. The Easy Pay was wired for Williamson to set up inside the store for the weekday 3:30 p.m. broadcasts while crowds of onlookers watched through the front window. Elmore James often played guitar with Williamson and also sang numbers of his own, including his signature tune, “Dust My Broom.” WAZF laid a direct telephone line to Belzoni and built a local studio to commence an enhanced schedule of remote broadcasts
Turner's Drug Store Marker (Rear) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, September 14, 2014
2. Turner's Drug Store Marker (Rear)
beginning on June 1, 1948, although the station had already been featuring Williamson for several months. WJPR in Greenville also carried the Easy Pay/Tallyho shows at one point, further boosting the profiles of Williamson and James a few years before they launched their legendary recording careers at Trumpet Records in Jackson.

Williamsonís Tallyho theme song began: “Tallyho, it sure is good, you can buy it anywhere in the neighborhood.” Drug store co-owner O. J. Turner, Jr., and Easy Pay proprietor George Gordon were partners in Tallyho, which was produced under a formula licensed from Louisiana senator Dudley LeBlanc, creator of a popular potion called Hadacol, after Gordon happened to meet LeBlanc at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Turnerís son, O. J.“Bubba” III, mixed batches of Tallyho with a paddle in a No. 2 washtub at the drug store, and as the demand spread, Turner, Jr., began delivering Tallyho to drug stores around the Delta from the trunk of his car. The Easy Pay also advertised easy-credit purchase plans for furniture, appliances, and household goods. When Williamson and James werenít on the radio, they were liable to be found playing on the streets, in front of Turnerís, and at various juke joints and cafes, including Jake Thomasí and Jack Andersonís. James once lived on the Turner Brothersí plantation with his family and his
Turner's Drug Store Marker photos image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, September 14, 2014
3. Turner's Drug Store Marker photos
** Click picture for more detail **
adopted “play brother,” Robert Earl Holston, who often joined him on guitar. Both James and Williamson lived in the Belzoni area at various times in the 1930s, Ď40s, and Ď50s, and both married Belzoni women, but neither man ever settled in one place for long. Williamson began broadcasting for Hadacol in West Memphis in late 1948, sometimes joined by guests including a young B. B. King, who went on to host a blues show sponsored by yet another tonic, Pep-Ti-Kon, in Memphis. B. B.ís jingle: “Pep-Ti-Kon sure is good, you can get it anywhere in the neighborhood.”
 
Erected 2010 by the Mississippi Blues Trail. (Marker Number 106.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 33° 10.652′ N, 90° 29.334′ W. Marker is in Belzoni, Mississippi, in Humphreys County. Marker is at the intersection of South Hayden Street and East Jackson Street, on the right when traveling north on South Hayden Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 102East Jackson Street, Belzoni MS 39038, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Denise LaSalle (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line);
Turner's Drug Store Marker area image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, September 14, 2014
4. Turner's Drug Store Marker area
The Reverend George Lee (approx. 0.4 miles away); Pinetop Perkins (approx. 1.5 miles away); Hank Cochran (approx. 7.7 miles away); Little Milton Campbell (approx. 13.6 miles away); Inverness (approx. 13.6 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. The 2010 Turner Dedication. (Submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentIndustry & Commerce
 
Turner's Store was located here. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, September 14, 2014
5. Turner's Store was located here.
Turner's Drug Store Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cleo Robertson, January 5, 2015
6. Turner's Drug Store Marker
Belzoni is also known as the "Catfish Capital of the World" because of its industry of U.S. farm-raised catfish.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 257 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.   6. submitted on , by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on July 28, 2016.
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