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Lexington in Holmes County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
 

Elmore James

 
 
Elmore James Marker (front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
1. Elmore James Marker (front)
Inscription.  [Front]
The cemetery of the Newport Missionary Baptist Church is the final resting place of Elmore James (1918-1963), often described as the "king of the slide guitar." James' electric style built on the approach of Robert Johnson and later influenced many blues and rock guitarists. Also buried here is Lonnie Pitchford (1955-1998), known for his skills on the one-string guitar or "diddley bow" and his dedication to keeping alive older traditions of Delta blues.

[Reverse]
Elmore James embodied the dramatic style changes in the blues associated both with the mass migration of rural Mississippians to Chicago and with evolving electronic technology during the 1940s and ’50s. Born Elmore Brooks on January 27, 1918, in Richland, he first played a one-string guitar, and locals recalled that he soon constructed a multi-stringed instrument with a lard can. In the late ’30s James began performing with Robert Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2 in Belzoni. Johnson’s boogie bass runs and slide guitar style were integral to James’ approach to the guitar. James also played with his adopted brother Robert Holston,

Elmore James Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
2. Elmore James Marker (reverse)
sometimes with bands featuring horns and amplifiers. James lived on various farms in Holmes and Humphreys Counties before serving from 1943 to 1945 in the Navy. He returned to Mississippi as a decorated veteran.

James, who learned more about electronically amplifying his guitar while working at Holston's radio repair shop in Canton, played on radio shows with Williamson in Belzoni and Helena, Arkansas, and made his debut recording in 1951 for Jackson's Trumpet label. Williamson played harmonica on James' record, "Dust My Broom," a tune recorded by Robert Johnson in 1936, and James also backed Williamson and Willie Love on Trumpet sessions. After "Dust My Broom" became a national R&B hit, James began touring and moved frequently between Mississippi and Chicago. He recorded for Meteor, Modern, Chess, Fire, and other labels over the next decade, scoring hits with “I Believe,” “The Sky is Crying” and “It Hurts Me Too.” James, who had a longstanding coronary condition, died of a heart attack on May 24, 1963, at the Chicago home of fellow musician Homesick James Williamson. Following a wake in Chicago, James’ body was sent home to Mississippi for burial.

Lonnie Pitchford, who often played songs by Elmore James and Robert Johnson, was born near Lexington on October 8, 1955. His parents, Willie Douglas and Rosie Pitchford, and his brothers

Close-up of photos on reverse. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
3. Close-up of photos on reverse.
Rosby, Willie Douglas, A. J. and Charles also played guitar. As a child Pitchford built one-string “diddley bows” using baling or broom wire and snuff cans. After he began playing a regular guitar, he joined a high school band and also played in churches with gospel groups in the area and while living in Chicago, Kansas City, and Kalamazoo. In the 1970s he began showcasing his one-string guitar skills under the guidance of folklorist Worth Long, who also helped him meet and learn from blues veterans Eugene Powell, Sam Chatmon, and Robert Lockwood. Pitchford performed across the U.S., toured Europe and Australia, appeared on several albums, and was featured in films and on TV. Around Lexington, he was sometimes joined by guitarist Curtis Price, who, like Pitchford, worked as a carpenter, recorded with the Star Lite Singers gospel group, and was buried here. Price, born on May 2, 1956, died in an auto accident on July 19, 2010. Pitchford died on November 8, 1998.
 
Erected 2012 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 167.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 32° 59.633′ N, 90° 3.099′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Mississippi, in Holmes County. Marker is
Elmore James Marker with Newport Baptist Church in background. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
4. Elmore James Marker with Newport Baptist Church in background.
on Newport Road (County Road 415) 3.9 miles west of State Route 17, on the left when traveling west. Located at the Newport Missionary Baptist Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2028 Newport Road, Lexington MS 39095, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Franklin Church (approx. 4.1 miles away); O.E.S. Birthplace (approx. 4.1 miles away); PFC Milton Lee Olive III (approx. 6.7 miles away); St. Paul Church of God in Christ (approx. 7˝ miles away); Holmes County Blues Lexington (approx. 8.1 miles away); Lexington (approx. 8.2 miles away); Bishop Charles H. Mason (approx. 8.2 miles away); Castalian Springs (approx. 13.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on Elmore James (with photo). (Submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 
Elmore James grave in cemetery near marker. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton
5. Elmore James grave in cemetery near marker.
Elmore James Marker with cemetery in background. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
6. Elmore James Marker with cemetery in background.
 

More. Search the internet for Elmore James.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 52 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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