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

Jimmy Reed

Jimmy Reed Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
1. Jimmy Reed Marker
Inscription.  Mathis James “Jimmy” Reed, one of the most influential blues artists of the 1950s and ‘60s, was born here on the Shady Dell plantation on September 6, 1925. Reed was one the first bluesmen to achieve “crossover” success, scoring hits on both the rhythm & blues and pop charts with songs including “Honest I Do,” “Big Boss Man,” “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” and “Bright Lights, Big City.”

Jimmy Reed Few blues artists have ever have ever developed the widespread appeal with both black and white audiences that Jimmy Reed had. Reed toured the country as a headliner and was a favorite act on Southern college campuses during an era when African Americans could not even attend most of the schools where he played. Reed’s easygoing vocal delivery and basic blues beat were ready-made for singing along and dancing, and most of his songs dealt with the everyday joys and problems of love and romance. Legions of listeners were inspired to take up the guitar or harmonica because Reed made the music sound so effortless.

Reed grew up on John Collier’s Shady Dell plantation

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and first sang spirituals at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Meltonia. Blues harmonica player Willie Foster was a childhood friend. Reed received little schooling and spent most of his time working the fields here and on the McMurchy plantation near Duncan. During the 1940s he moved to Chicago, served a year in the U. S. Navy, and returned to farming work with his parents in Clarksdale in 1945. Reed began performing in Chicago’s streets, alleys, and nightclubs after he went back to the city and found work at an iron foundry, a steel mill, and the Armour meat packing plant. Reed played guitar and harmonica at the same time, using a wire rack around his neck to hold the harmonica. His unique sound, developed with his longtime partner, guitarist Eddie Taylor, became one of the predominant styles in blues after he began recording for Vee-Jay Records in 1953.

The first of Reed’s nineteen national hit singles was “You Don’t Have to Go” (1955). His success in the mainstream pop music market came years before B. B. King, Muddy Waters, and most other prominent blues artists were recognized outside the African American community. Among the hundreds of artists who have recorded Reed’s songs are Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, Ike & Tina Turner, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Count Basie, Sonny James, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers,

Jimmy Reed Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
2. Jimmy Reed Marker (reverse)
Sun and weathering have crazed and warped the plastic material used for the reverse side of the marker. It has been reported to the Mississippi Blues Commission.
Aretha Franklin, and Bill Cosby.

Reed’s career was sidetracked by epilepsy and alcoholism, and although he recovered sufficiently to begin touring again in the 1970s, health problems persisted. He died on tour in Oakland, California, on August 29, 1976. Reed was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. His children, some of whom had sung or played blues with him, embraced gospel music and formed the Seeds of Reed Ministry and a publishing company, Seeds of Reed Music.
Erected 2008 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 43.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list. A significant historical date for this entry is August 29, 1976.
Location. 33° 27.015′ N, 90° 48.934′ W. Marker is in Dunleith, Mississippi, in Washington County. Marker is on Collier Road, 0.8 miles north of Long Switch Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 203 Collier Road, Leland MS 38756, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Charley Patton (approx. 3.4 miles away); Deer Creek (approx. 5˝ miles

Closeup of reverse side photos. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
3. Closeup of reverse side photos.
away); Tyrone Davis (approx. 5.6 miles away); James “Son” Thomas (approx. 5.6 miles away); Heathman Plantation Commissary (approx. 5.7 miles away); Johnny Winter (approx. 5.7 miles away); Corner of 10 and 61 (approx. 5.7 miles away); Ruby's Nite Spot (approx. 5.7 miles away).
View from marker towards former plantation. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
4. View from marker towards former plantation.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 9, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 372 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 9, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Jun. 16, 2024