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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tuscumbia in Colbert County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama

 
 
The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, April 7, 2010
1. The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker
Inscription. Musicians have long crossed the Alabama -Mississippi border to perform and record. Mississippians such as Albert King, Little Milton, and Pops Staples recorded at studios in Muscle Shoals and Sheffield, including those owned by Mississippi natives Rick Hall and Quin Ivy, Alabamians Jerry "Boogie" McCain, Frederick Knight and Roscoe Robinson recorded for labels in Jackson, Mississippi, while Florence native W.C. Handy encountered the blues while working in the Mississippi Delta.

(Back):
Muscle Shoals, although musical traditions are often defined in terms of state boundaries; musicians have traditionally ignored such arbitrary distinctions in their pursuit of their art and careers. This has certainly been the case for the 300-mile border shared by Alabama and Mississippi. W.C. Handy, known as “the father of the blues,” and Jimmie Rodgers, “the father of country music,” heard the blues while living and working in both states. Blues and soul performers Willie King, Eddy Clearwater, Peggy Scott-Adams, Big Ike Darby, Lucille Bogan, Sir Charles Jones, Bobo Jenkins, and Big Joe Williams also lived in both Alabama and Mississippi, as did one of the earliest-born blues-recording artists, Johnny “Daddy Stovepipe” Watson (b. Mobile, c. 1867), and Ike Zinnerman, mentor of the legendary Robert
The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker, Side 2 image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, April 7, 2010
2. The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker, Side 2
Johnson. Johnson’s Delta blues tradition was later carried on in Alabama by noted guitarist Johnny Shines. King, Williams, Shines, and Alabamians Jerry McCain, Poonanny, and Roscoe Robinson were among those who recorded in both states.

Muscle Shoals became an important showcase for regional talent after Rich Hall opened his Fame studio here in 1959. On his Fame label Hall recorded local musicians as well as Mississippians James Govan, George Soule, and George Jackson. Muscle Shoals studios also became popular destinations for national labels, including Stax and Atlantic. Albums or singles by Mississippi-associated artists Albert King, the Staple Singers, Syl Johnson, Otis Rush, Otis Clay, Fenton Robinson, James Carr, and Big Joe Williams were recorded here, as were parts of B.B. King’s King of the Blues: 1989 album, which included a track produced by Alabama’s Frederick Knight.

Mississippi strengthened its connection with Muscle Shoals in 1985 when Jackson-based Malaco Records purchased the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, which was founded in 1969 by former Fame session musicians. Malaco co-owner Tommy Couch, a native of Tuscumbia, began his music career booking bands for University of Mississippi fraternities including the Pallbearers and the Del-Rays, which featured future Muscle Shoals session musician Jimmy Johnson and Roger Denis LaSalle,
Music Hall of Fame Tuscumbia, Al image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, April 7, 2010
3. Music Hall of Fame Tuscumbia, Al
Marker is in front of Pond in front of Music Hall of Fame.
Mosley & Johnson, Artie, “Blue Boy” White, and Dorothy Moore. Malalco also benefited from the relocation from Muscle Shoals to Jackson of songwriter George Jackson and arranger Harrison Calloway of the Muscle Shoals Horns.
 
Erected 2010 by National Endowment for the Arts. (Marker Number 99.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
 
Location. 34° 42.903′ N, 87° 41.714′ W. Marker is in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in Colbert County. Marker is on U.S. 72. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 617 Highway 72 West, Tuscumbia AL 35674, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Tuscumbia's Oakwood Cemetery (approx. 0.6 miles away); Trenholm High School (approx. ¾ mile away); Sacred Tears (approx. 1.1 miles away); Jackson's Military Road (approx. 1.1 miles away); Cold Water Falls (approx. 1.1 miles away); Tuscumbia Big Spring (approx. 1.1 miles away); Petrified Conifer Tree / Petrified Lycopod Tree Stump (approx. 1.2 miles away); American Indian History (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tuscumbia.
 
Also see . . .
1. Encyclopedia of Alabama entry on Jerry "Boogie" McCain.
The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, April 7, 2010
4. The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker
1. W.C. Handy (1873-1958) recorded "Muscle Shoals Blues" in 1922 upper left. 2. Harmonica great Jerry McCain (b 1930) a lifelong resident of Gadsden, made his first commercial recordings in 1953 for the Jackson, Mississippi based Trumpet label. 3. Delta blues master Johnny Shines (1915-1992) sent the last 23 years of his life in the Tuscaloosa area. 4. Mississippi natives who produced records in Muscle Shoals included Rick Hall (left), owner of the Fame studio and label, and Quin Ivy (right), who ran the Quinvy studio and various labels, Tishomingo County, Mississippi native Quinton Claunch also recorded Mississippi born soul singer James Carr at the Fame and Quinvy studios for his Memphis based Goldwax label.
(Submitted on December 19, 2012, by Laura Hill of Auburn, Alabama.)
2. Encyclopedia of Alabama entry on W. C. Handy. (Submitted on December 19, 2012, by Laura Hill of Auburn, Alabama.)
3. Encyclopedia of Alabama entry on Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. (Submitted on December 19, 2012, by Laura Hill of Auburn, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Notable Events
 
The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, April 7, 2010
5. The Blues Trail: Mississippi to Alabama Marker
1.These releases by the Staples Singers, Little Milton, Big Joe Williams, George Jackson, Mosley & Johnson, Fenton Robinson, and James Govan all included tracks recorded in Muscle Shoals or Sheffield. 2. Bluesman and social activist Willie King 1943-2009) was born in Prairie Point Mississippi, where he also recorded his Freedom Creek CD at a local juke joint. King lived most of his life just over the border in Pickens County, Alabama.
Jimmy Rodgers guiter image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 27, 2008
6. Jimmy Rodgers guiter
Can be see in Music Hall of Fame Tuscumbia, Al
The Blues Trail: Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 27, 2008
7. The Blues Trail: Marker
1. John Henry Blues 2. The Memphis Blues-Mister Grump 3. The Saint Louis Blues-W.C. Handy 4. Joe Turner Blues 5. Aunt Hargar's Blues 6. Saint Louis Blues -W.C. Handy 7.Saint Louis Blues
Fame Studios Muscle Shoals Al image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, December 19, 2011
8. Fame Studios Muscle Shoals Al
Muscle Shoals Sound Studios image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 21, 2010
9. Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 18, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 807 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 18, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.   6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on December 19, 2011, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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