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

Queen of Hearts

 
 
Queen of Hearts Marker (Front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
1. Queen of Hearts Marker (Front)
Inscription.
Front
The Queen of Hearts, a primary venue for down-home blues in Jackson, opened at this location in the 1970s. During the following decades, owner-operator Chellie B. Lewis presented the blues bands of King Edward, Sam Myers, Big Bad Smitty, and many others. The house behind the club at 905 Ann Banks Street was owned and occupied in the 1960s by blues singer-guitarist Johnnie Temple, who had been a popular recording artist in Chicago in the 1930s and ‘40s.

Rear
Jackson became an important center for the blues in the early 1900s, when musicians from rural communities came here to play for crowds on the capital city’s streets and in its many venues. Live blues continued to thrive in Jackson into the twenty-first century, thanks to clubs such as the Queen of Hearts, where owner Chellie B. Lewis booked musicians and cooked soul food every weekend for decades. A native of Bolton, Mississippi, Lewis opened the club as “Nina’s Lounge” after taking over the lease from Mose Chinn, whose brother Clarence ran the popular New Club Desire in Canton. Lewis had previously operated a “whiskey house” with a jukebox in the nearby Maple Street Apartments and worked as a waiter at Percy Simpson’s nightclub on Moonbeam Street, where he would sometimes play piano with Elmore James's band.

John
Queen of Hearts Marker (Rear) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
2. Queen of Hearts Marker (Rear)
“Big Bad Smitty” Smith, a native of Vicksburg, was the first featured musician at the Queen of Hearts and was followed by bands led by King Edward (Antoine), Cadillac George Harris, Tommy “T. C.” Carter, Norman Clark, and Roosevelt Robinson, Jr. Others who performed or sat in at the Queen of Hearts included Sam Myers, McKinley Mitchell, King Edward’s brother Nolan Struck, Prentiss Lewis, Charlie Jenkins, Johnny Littlejohn, Levon Lindsey, brothers “Lightnin’” and Little Charles Russell, Elmore James, Jr., Robert Robinson, Andrew “Bobo” Thomas, Tommy Lee Thompson, Bobby Rush, Z. Z. Hill, Little Milton, Dorothy Moore, Lee “Shot” Williams, Abdul Rasheed, Eddie Rasberry, Walter Lee “Big Daddy” Hood, J. T. Watkins, Roosevelt Robinson, Sr., George Jackson, Eddie Cotton, Jr., Sam Baker, Jr., Jesse Robinson, Bill Simpson, Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood, Robert “Bull” Jackson, Greg “Fingers” Taylor, Willie (Dee) Dixon, Robert “The Duke” Tillman, Sweet Miss Coffy, Willie James Hatten, Billy “Soul” Bonds, Frank-O (Johnson), Tina Diamond, Dennis Fountain, Marvin Bradley, James Williams, Sugar Lou, and Debra K.

Lewis also rented out rooms above the Queen of Hearts to musicians including Sam Myers and Big Bad Smitty, and recalled that the home of bluesman
Photos from rear of marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
3. Photos from rear of marker.
Click on photo for closeup
Johnnie Temple (1905-1968), located behind the club, was a popular hangout for Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2, and other musicians. The house was previously occupied by Temple’s stepfather, guitarist Lucine “Slim” Duckett, who recorded in Jackson for the OKeh label in 1930. Tommy Johnson and Skip James were among other noted blues performers who stayed with the Duckett/Temple family at various houses in Jackson. After moving to Chicago in the 1930s Temple recorded extensively, scoring his biggest hit with the often-covered “Louise Louise Blues.” He returned to Jackson in the late 1950s.
 
Erected by the Mississippi Blues Commission.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 32° 19.429′ N, 90° 12.206′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Drive and Ann Banks Street, on the right when traveling south on Martin Luther King Jr Drive. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2243 Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Jackson MS 39213, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cassandra Wilson (approx. 1.1 miles away); Millsaps College
Queen of Hearts club. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
4. Queen of Hearts club.
(approx. 1.3 miles away); The Alamo Theatre (approx. 1.6 miles away); Smith Robertson School (approx. 1.6 miles away); MFWC Headquarters (approx. 1.6 miles away); Noel House (approx. 1.6 miles away); Trumpet Records (approx. 1.7 miles away); St. Marks Episcopal Church (approx. 1.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Jackson.
 
Also see . . .  Mississippi Blues Trail website. (Submitted on November 2, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainmentNotable Buildings
 
View looking north on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
5. View looking north on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard.
View of marker looking southeasterly from Ann Banks Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
6. View of marker looking southeasterly from Ann Banks Street.
Queen of Hearts club.. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 16, 2015
7. Queen of Hearts club..
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 125 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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