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

Holmes County Blues Lexington

 
 
Holmes County Blues Lexington Marker (front) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
1. Holmes County Blues Lexington Marker (front)
Inscription.  [Front]
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.

[Reverse]
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 lasted

Holmes County Blues Lexington Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
2. Holmes County Blues Lexington Marker (reverse)
almost fifty years, was a cousin of brothers Otis "Big Smokey" (1929-1993) and Albert (aka Abe) "Little Smokey" Smothers (1939-2010) and of Lester Davenport (1932-2009), all of whom were longtime figures on the Chicago blues scene. Williams and Otis Smothers were from Lexington; Albert Smothers, Davenport, and Chicago vocalist Arelean Brown (1924-1981), who claimed Williams as a brother, were from Tchula. In his later years Williams enjoyed renewed popularity on the Southern soul circuit by recording a series of risque songs. Otis Smothers performed in a more downhome vein and recorded some classic blues of his own in addition to doing sessions with Howlin' Wolf and writing songs for Muddy Waters. Willie Douglas "W. D." Pitchford, his wife Rosie, and their sons Willie Douglas, Jr., Charles Edward, Lonnie Lee, Andrew James ("A. J."), and Rosby Pitchford from Lexington all played blues or gospel guitar. Lonnie (1955-1998), a critically acclaimed performer who toured several countries, carried on the music of Elmore James and Robert Johnson and also brought the homemade one-string "diddley bow" to prominence. Lexington's Roseby brothers Ras ("Butch") (1904-1970) and Edgar (a banjoist, 1921-1993) and their cousin, saxophonist John "Brick" Roseby (1910-1987), performed in various jazz and dance bands. Ras (Rasberry), a trombonist, later played drums for Elmore James and recorded as
Close-up of photos on reverse side. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
3. Close-up of photos on reverse side.
a sideman for Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2 on Trumpet Records in Jackson.

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.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
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. Marker is at or near this postal address: 116 Yazoo Street, Lexington MS 39095, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lexington (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bishop Charles H. Mason

Holmes County Blues Lexington Marker looking towards the Courthouse. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, October 5, 2019
4. Holmes County Blues Lexington Marker looking towards the Courthouse.
(about 500 feet away); St. Paul Church of God in Christ (approx. 0.6 miles away); PFC Milton Lee Olive III (approx. 1 miles away); Franklin Church (approx. 6 miles away); Elmore James (approx. 8.1 miles away); O.E.S. Birthplace (approx. 10.4 miles away); Tchula (approx. 10.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
 
Categories. African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment
 

More. Search the internet for Holmes County Blues Lexington.
 
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 44 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 8, 2019, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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