Belzoni in Humphreys County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Turner's Drug Store
The names of Turner’s Drug Store (located on this corner) and the Easy Pay Store across the street are etched into blues history as sponsors of some of the first radio programs in Mississippi to feature Delta blues. In 1947-48 stations in Yazoo City and Greenville began broadcasting live performances by Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2 and Elmore James from Belzoni via remote transmission. Williamson, James, and other musicians often performed outside the stores, and inside the Easy Pay as well.
Sonny Boy Williamson, also known as “Rice” Miller, was already an established blues radio icon famed for his “King Biscuit Time” program in Helena, Arkansas, when he began broadcasting over Yazoo City station WAZF on programs sponsored by the Easy Pay Store and Tallyho, an alcohol-laced vitamin and mineral tonic produced at Turner’s Drug Store. The Easy Pay was wired for Williamson to set up inside the store for the weekday 3:30 p.m. broadcasts while crowds of onlookers watched through the front window. Elmore James often played guitar with Williamson and also sang numbers
Williamson’s Tallyho theme song began: “Tallyho, it sure is good, you can buy it anywhere in the neighborhood.” Drug store co-owner O. J. Turner, Jr., and Easy Pay proprietor George Gordon were partners in Tallyho, which was produced under a formula licensed from Louisiana senator Dudley LeBlanc, creator of a popular potion called Hadacol, after Gordon happened to meet LeBlanc at the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Turner’s son, O. J.“Bubba” III, mixed batches of Tallyho with a paddle in a No. 2 washtub at the drug store, and as the demand spread, Turner, Jr., began delivering Tallyho to drug stores around the Delta from the trunk of his car. The Easy Pay also advertised easy-credit purchase plans for furniture, appliances, and household goods. When Williamson and James weren’t on the radio, they were liable to be found playing
Erected 2010 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 106.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1863.
Location. 33° 10.652′ N, 90° 29.334′ W. Marker is in Belzoni, Mississippi, in Humphreys County. Marker is at the intersection of South Hayden StreetTouch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 102East Jackson Street, Belzoni MS 39038, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Denise LaSalle (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Reverend George Lee (approx. 0.4 miles away); Steamboat Natchez (approx. 1.2 miles away); Pinetop Perkins (approx. 1˝ miles away); Jaketown Site (approx. 4.1 miles away); Hank Cochran (approx. 7.7 miles away); Little Milton Campbell (approx. 13.6 miles away); Inverness (approx. 13.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Belzoni.
Also see . . . the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 410 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 6. submitted on July 27, 2016, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.