Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
The Edwards Hotel, housed in a luxurious, twelve-story Beaux Arts style building, would appear at first glance to be an odd place to make blues recordings. The first hotel on the site, the Confederate House, was built in 1861, and after its destruction by General Sherman’s forces in 1863 it was rebuilt in 1867 as the three-story Edwards House. The Edwards Hotel was constructed in 1923, and soon became a favorite lodging and deal-making place for state legislators. Its role as a recording studio stemmed from the fact that prior to World War II all major recording companies were located in the North, and Southern-based artists often had to travel hundreds of miles to record. An occasional solution was setting up temporary facilities at hotels, and in Jackson the OKeh and ARC companies turned to H. C. Speir, a talent scout
Speir had previously discovered blues artists Charley Patton and Tommy Johnson and sent them to other cities to record. Together with Polk Brockman of OKeh, Speir arranged the first sessions in Mississippi in December of 1930 at the Edwards Hotel. Blues performers at the sessions included the Mississippi Sheiks, an African American string band from the Bolton/Edwards area, who had recorded the massive hit Sitting On Top of the World for OKeh earlier in 1930. Individual members of the Sheiks' rotating cast also recorded at the hotel, including the duo of guitarists Bo Carter (Chatmon) and Walter Jacobs (Vinson), and mandolinist Charlie McCoy, a native of Raymond. Other artists included Caldwell Bracey and his wife Virginia from Bolton, who recorded both gospel and blues (as “Mississippi” Bracy [sic]), the gospel duo of “Slim” Duckett and “Pig” Norwood, and Elder Charlie Beck and Elder Curry, who both recorded sermons. The sessions were also notable for capturing white Mississippi string bands, the Newton County Hill Billies and Freeny’s Barn Dance Band (from Leake County) as well as Tennessee-based country music pioneer Uncle Dave Macon.
In 1935 Speir set up a second series of sessions at the Edwards Hotel for ARC, which operated Vocalion and several other
content © Mississippi Blues Commission
Erected 2011 by Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 155.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 32° 18.026′ N, 90° 11.445′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is at the intersection of West Capitol Street and South Mill Street, on the right when traveling east on West Capitol Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 235 West Capitol Street, Jackson MS 39201, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 217 W. Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Ace Records (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Scott Radio Service Company (about 600 feet away); Trumpet Records (approx. ¼ mile away); The Alamo Theatre (approx. 0.3 miles away); Greyhound Bus Station (approx. 0.3 miles away); Summers Hotel & Subway Lounge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Otis Spann & Little Johnnie Jones (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jackson.
Also see . . . History of the King Edward Hotel. The Hilton's history of the hotel: ...The original hotel on the site was known as the Confederate House, built by "Major" R.O. Edwards in 1861. After being destroyed by Gen. Sherman's forces in Civil War in 1863, the 3-story hotel was rebuilt and reopened in 1867 as the Edwards House, the prominent center of Jackson society and politics for over 40 years. The hotel was replaced in 1923 by the present 12-story beige brick structure, designed in the Beaux-Arts architecture style by New Orleans architect William Nolan. This grand new hotel opened as the Edwards Hotel.... (Submitted on November 1, 2015.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 20, 2011, by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi. This page has been viewed 575 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 20, 2011, by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi. 3. submitted on November 1, 2015. 4, 5. submitted on November 1, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.