Yazoo City in Yazoo County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Tommy McClennan (c. 1905-1961) was one of America's most successful down-home blues recording artists during the period when he recorded 20 singles for the Bluebird label (1939-1942). Among McClennan's most notable numbers were "Bottle It Up and Go," "Cross Cut Saw," "Travelin' Highway Man," and "New Highway No. 51 Blues." McClennan, famed for his raucous, uninhibited singing and guitar playing, frequented this section of Yazoo City when he lived on the nearby J. F. Sligh plantation.
Tommy McClennan was born in Yazoo City in April of 1908, according to Big Bill Broonzy in his book "Big Bill Blues." However, McClennan's death certificate cites his birthplace as Durant (Holmes County) and the date as January 4, 1905. He is shown with his mother Cassie and his siblings in the 1910 census in Carroll County, and in 1920 the family was living on a plantation near Sidon in Leflore County. McClennan and his wife Ophelia were also enumerated in the 1930 Leflore County census, with his occupation listed as teamster. His name was variously spelled McClinton, McLindon, McCleland, and McClenan
McClennan began his recording career in 1939 after white Chicago record producer Lester Melrose came looking for him. Broonzy recounted that Melrose had to make a hurried exit when his presence angered locals who thought he was recruiting laborers to leave Mississippi. In Chicago McClennan, “one of the most ferocious blues singers to get near a microphone,” in the words of Charters, unleashed his gruff, unbridled
Erected 2012 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 148.)
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.
Location. 32° 50.89′ N, 90° 24.927′ W. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 294 West Broadway Street, Yazoo City MS 39194, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bank of Yazoo City (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); B.S. Ricks Memorial Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); Yazoo County Civil War Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Bethel A.M.E. Church (approx. ¼ mile away); The Oakes House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Yazoo Expedition (approx. 0.4 miles away); Town Creek (approx. half a mile away); St. Francis Mission School (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yazoo City.
Also see . . .
1. Tommy McClennan Biography. (Submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Mississippi Blues Trail. (Submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 290 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.