Holmes County Blues Lexington
Holmes County has been a significant contributor to the legacy of African American blues and gospel music in Mississippi. Heralded blues artists born or raised in the Lexington area include Elmore James (a native of Richland, about eleven miles south of town), Lee "Shot" Williams, Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers, and Lonnie Pitchford. B. B. King also lived briefly in Lexington as a teenager.
Lexington can claim a rich musical heritage as the onetime home of Blues Hall of Famers B. B. King and Elmore James along with an array of accomplished blues, soul, jazz, and gospel performers. King, born in 1925, was a budding guitarist and gospel singer when he moved to Lexington to live with his father Albert in 1940 for two years. James (1918-1963), a key figure in Mississippi and Chicago blues history, lived on various farms in Holmes County in his early years. His headstone in Ebenezer bears the inscription "King of the Slide Guitar."
Several local families were responsible for much of Lexington's blues legacy. Soul and blues singer Lee "Shot" Williams (1938-2011), whose recording career
Guitarist Lee Cooper (1925-1966), a prolific studio musician from Lexington who was skilled in both jazz and blues, recorded with Howlin' Wolf, Memphis Slim, Eddie Boyd, and many others in Chicago. Another Chicago bluesman with Lexington roots, James Scott, Jr. (c. 1913-1983), recorded in Memphis for Sun Records in 1952 and led the Scott Jr. Band in Mississippi and Chicago. Geneva Morganfield (1915-1973), who was immortalized in her husband Muddy Waters' 1949 recording "Little Geneva," was a native of Lexington, as was noted jazz bassist Malachi Favors (1927-2004), a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
Erected 2012 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 156.)
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 year for this entry is 1925.
Location. 33° 6.674′ N, 90° 3.163′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Mississippi, in Holmes County. Marker is at the intersection of Yazoo Street (Mississippi Route 17) and Elder James Rodgers Street, on the right when traveling north on Yazoo Street. Touch for map.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hazel Brannon Smith (within shouting distance of this marker); Lexington (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bishop Charles H. Mason (about 500 feet away); Holmes County (about 600 feet away); Holmes County Confederate Monument (about 600 feet away); St. Mary's Episcopal Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Paul Church of God in Christ (approx. 0.6 miles away); Dr. Arenia Conelia Mallory (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 189 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.