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

Charley Patton

 
 
Charley Patton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
1. Charley Patton Marker
Inscription.  The most important figure in the pioneering era of Delta blues, Charley Patton (1891-1934), helped define not only the musical genre but also the image and lifestyle of the rambling Mississippi bluesman. He roamed the Delta using Dockery as his most frequent base, and lived his final year in Holly Ridge. Patton and blues singers Willie James Foster (1921-2000) and Asie Payton (1937-1997) are buried in this cemetery.

[reverse]
Charley Patton has been called the Founder of the Delta Blues. He blazed a trail as the music’s preeminent entertainer and recording artist during the first third of the 20th century. Born between Bolton and Edwards, Mississippi, in April 1891, Patton was of mixed black, white and native American ancestry. In the early 1900s his family moved to the Dockery plantation. Patton’s travels took him from Louisiana to New York, but he spent most of his time moving from plantation to plantation, entertaining fieldhands at jukehouse dances and country stores, acquiring numerous wives and girlfriends along the way. The emotional sway he held over his audiences caused him to be tossed off of more than one

Charley Patton Marker (reverse) image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
2. Charley Patton Marker (reverse)
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plantation, because workers would leave crops unattended to listen to him play.

Although Patton was roughly five feet, five inches tall and only weighed 135 pounds, his gravelly, high-energy singing style made him sound like a man twice his size. An accomplished and inventive guitarist and lyricist, he was a flamboyant showman as well, spinning his guitar, playing it behind his head and slapping it for rhythmic effect. He also preached in local churches, played for the deacons of New Jerusalem M.B. Church here and recorded religious songs, folk ballads, dance tunes, and pop songs.

His most popular and influential record was the Paramount release that paired "Pony Blues" with "Banty Rooster Blues." Other Patton songs were noteworthy for their references to specific people, places and topical events in the Delta. "High Water Everywhere," a dramatic two-part account of the death and despair wrought by the great 1927 flood, is often regarded as his masterpiece. His songs offered social commentary and provided propulsive music for dancing. Patton sometimes employed multiple spoken voices to create his own cast of characters. While he was an inspiration to many musicians, including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Willie Brown, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Bukka White, Honeyboy Edwards, and even Bob Dylan, the individualistic quality of his singing and playing was

Closeup of reverse side. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
3. Closeup of reverse side.
Click on photo to enlarge photos.
so inimitable that relatively few blues artists ever attempted to record Patton songs. Patton’s last wife, Bertha Lee, lived with him in Holly Ridge and recorded with him at his final session in New York for Vocalion Records in 1934. Patton died of mitral valve disorder at the age of 43.
 
Erected 2006 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 1.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail 🎶 series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1891.
 
Location. 33° 26.744′ N, 90° 45.465′ W. Marker is in Holly Ridge, Mississippi, in Sunflower County. Marker is on Holly Ridge Road 0.2 miles west of Holly Ridge Holmes Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Indianola MS 38751, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Heathman Plantation Commissary (approx. 2.3 miles away); Jimmy Reed (approx. 3.4 miles away); Craig Claiborne (approx. 6.1 miles away); Irene Magruder (approx. 6.1 miles away); Wayne and Minnie Cox Park (approx. 6.2 miles away); Albert King (approx. 6.2 miles away); Giles Penny Savers Store (approx. 6.2 miles away); Church Street (approx. 6.2 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
Charley Patton Marker at the Holly Ridge Cemetery. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, April 5, 2021
4. Charley Patton Marker at the Holly Ridge Cemetery.

1. Find-A-Grave memorial for Charley Patton. (Submitted on April 9, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on Charley Patton. (Submitted on April 9, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
 
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 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 9, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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May. 14, 2021