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

Club Desire

 
 
Club Desire Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cleo Robertson, December 20, 2014
1. Club Desire Marker
Inscription.
~Front~
The Club Desire, which stood across the street from this site, was one of Mississippi's premier blues and rhythm & blues nightclubs from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Owner Clarence Chinn presented the top national acts, including B. B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Little Junior Parker, James Brown, Ivory Joe Hunter, Big Joe Turner, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, and the Platters. In the '60s the club also served as an important meeting place for civil rights workers.
~Back~
Club Desire – or New Club Desire, as it was actually named for most its tenure – was a Canton landmark for several decades, renowned for providing the African American community with first-class entertainment in a celebratory but elegant atmosphere, with strict codes enforced for dress and behavior. Its shows drew patrons from Memphis and New Orleans, and former Cantonites from Chicago and points beyond often attended family reunions and gala holiday events here. Founded by Clarence Chinn (1906-1995) in the 1940s as the Blue Garden, the club was rebuilt after a fire and renamed New Club Desire in the early Ď50s. The name Club Desire was first used by a popular nightspot on Desire Street in New Orleans.

The club also earned a place in blues recording history in January 1952 when
Club Desire Marker (Back) image. Click for full size.
By Cleo Robertson, December 20, 2014
2. Club Desire Marker (Back)
Modern Records of California rented it to set up a portable tape machine to record several songs by legendary Canton singer-guitarist Elmore James (1918-1963). Modernís talent scout, Ike Turner from Clarksdale, played piano on the session. Two local members of Jamesís band, Ernest “Frock” Odell and Precious “Little Hat” Whitehead, were probably also on the recordings. Most published accounts of this session have erroneously cited the name as the Club Bizarre.

Ironically, despite Jamesís posthumous fame among blues fans, he and other local down-home bluesmen rarely played at New Club Desire, although they did perform for Clarence Chinnís brother C.O. (1919-1999) at his cafť on Franklin Street, as well as for Frank Williams at a big dance hall in the Sawmill Quarters. New Club Desire favored touring blues and soul bands with horn sections and professional talent revues. B.B. King, Bobby Bland, and Hank Ballard & the Midnighters were recalled as particular favorites, and the talent roster also featured Little Milton, Albert King, Ted Taylor, Memphis Slim, Joe Simon, and many more. Clarence Chinn sometimes coordinated bookings with Tom Wince, who owned the Blue Room, a prominent Vicksburg venue, so that acts could play in both towns while on tour.

After Chinn decided to focus his energy on real estate and housing, New Club Desire was operated
Club Desire Marker (Graphics) image. Click for full size.
By Cleo Robertson, December 20, 2014
3. Club Desire Marker (Graphics)
by Leonard Garrett, George Raymond, and Eddie Newton. Raymond and C.O. Chinn were Cantonís leading civil rights activists in the 1960s. At various times New Club Desire was used for private parties and meetings of civic, social, and civil rights organizations. The club closed in the 1970s.
 
Erected 2009 by Mississippi Blues Commission.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 32° 36.137′ N, 90° 2.169′ W. Marker is in Canton, Mississippi, in Madison County. Marker is at the intersection of Cross Street and South Union Street, on the left on Cross Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Canton MS 39046, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Madison County Courthouse (approx. ĺ mile away); Hickory Street (approx. 0.8 miles away); Natchez Trace at Madisonville (approx. 6.2 miles away); West Florida Boundary (approx. 9.5 miles away); Tupelo–Baldcypress Swamp (approx. 9.8 miles away); Pearl River (approx. 10.3 miles away); Boyd Site (approx. 10.5 miles away); Old Trace (approx. 12.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Canton.
 
Also see . . .
1. Mississippi Blues Trail: Club Desire
Club Desire Marker (Close-Up) image. Click for full size.
By Cleo Robertson, December 20, 2014
4. Club Desire Marker (Close-Up)
Clarence Chinn, founder of the Blue Garden and New Club Desire.
. (Submitted on January 1, 2015, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
2. Past Blues: Club Desire. One of the premiere Blues and Rhythm and Blues nightclubs from 1940s to 1960s. (Submitted on January 1, 2015, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.) 

3. Canton Convention & Visitors Bureau: Mississippi Blues Trail (Cub Desire). (Submitted on January 1, 2015, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicCivil RightsEntertainment
 
Club Desire Marker and Surrounding Area image. Click for full size.
By Cleo Robertson, December 20, 2014
5. Club Desire Marker and Surrounding Area
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This page has been viewed 243 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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