Vicksburg in Warren County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
The Red Tops
Between 1953 and 1974 the Vicksburg-based Red Tops entertained legions of dancers with their distinctive mix of blues, jazz, and pop. Under the strict direction of drummer and manager Walter Osborne, the group developed a devoted fan base across Mississippi and neighboring states. Most of the ten original members had played with an earlier Vicksburg band, the Rebops. Vocalist Rufus McKay’s rendition of “Danny Boy” was a crowd favorite.
The Red Tops were the most popular band in Mississippi during an era when nightlife centered on the dance floor and couples and hopeful singles donned their finest clothes for evenings out on the town. The group, part of a long line of dance bands in Vicksburg, started during World War II as the Rebops. On weekends the Rebops played on Morrissey’s Showboat,
The group also performed regularly for African American audiences at clubs including the Blue Room in Vicksburg, Stevens Rose Room in Jackson, Ruby’s Night Spot in Leland, the Harlem Inn in Winstonville, the Plaza Hotel in Greenwood, and various Elks lodges. They
Most Red Tops performances were on weekends, as all of the members had full-time day jobs. Unlike most bands, the Red Tops operated very strictly as a business, with detailed ledgers, annual audits, and bookings often scheduled a year in advance. Their matching uniforms were tailor-made, members were subject to regular inspections and rules of conduct, and rehearsals were held every Monday evening at the YMCA on Jackson Street. The Red Tops stopped performing regularly in the mid-‘70s but reunited on a number
Erected 2008 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 33.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail 🎶 series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 20, 1953.
Location. 32° 21.004′ N, 90° 52.875′ W. Marker is in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in Warren County. Marker is on Clay Street west of Walnut Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 717 Clay Street, Vicksburg MS 39183, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Banks and Bottles (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); C. S. Vaiden (Mississippi) Battery; (about 300 feet away); 1953 Tornado MemorialMercantile Explosion (about 400 feet away); Missing Angels (about 500 feet away); Sky Parlor Hill (about 500 feet away); The Blue Room (about 500 feet away); Combat Wounded Veterans (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Vicksburg.
Regarding The Red Tops. They played regular dates in two buildings near this marker: the BB Club, located in the B’nai B’rith Literary Club at 721 Clay Street, and the Hotel Vicksburg, located at 801 Clay Street on the northeast corner of the intersection of Clay and Walnut Streets, just across Walnut Street from this marker.
Also see . . . Mississippi Blues Trail website. (Submitted on May 29, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 26, 2017. It was originally submitted on May 29, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 181 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 29, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 5, 6. submitted on October 26, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.