Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
One of the earliest blues musicians from Mississippi to make recordings, Ishmon Bracey (1899-1970) is buried in the nearby Willow Park Cemetery. In the 1920s and '30s Bracey was a leading bluesman in the Jackson area and performed with prominent artists including Tommy Johnson, Rube Lacy, and Charlie McCoy. In the early '50s Bracey became an ordained minister and left the blues behind.
Bracey was born in Byram, about ten miles south of Jackson, in January 1899, according to census records. He learned guitar from locals Louis Cooper and Lee Jones and moved to Jackson in the late 1920s after encountering Tommy Johnson, one of Mississippi’s most prominent bluesmen, in Johnson’s longtime home of Crystal Springs. Bracey soon became one of the most popular musicians in the Jackson area’s vital blues scene, which consisted largely of musicians who were likewise born in small communities in the area. These included Johnson, his brothers LeDell, Clarence, and Mager, and R. D. “Peg Leg Sam” Norwood of Crystal Springs; Rubin Lacy, Shirley Griffith, John Henry “Bubba” Brown, “Son” Spand , and brothers Luther and Percy Huff, all of Rankin County; brothers Joe and Charlie McCoy of Raymond; Johnnie Temple of Canton; Lucien “Slim” Duckett of Tylertown;
Jackson blues in the 1920s had a lighter feel than its counterpart in the Delta and sometimes featured the mandolin and the fiddle. Bracey and other musicians often played at dances for both black and white audiences, performing waltzes and ragtime numbers, and otherwise serenaded passersby on the busy streets of Jackson. Bracey’s music came to broader attention after he auditioned for recording agent H. C. Speir, who operated a furniture store on North Farish Street. Speir arranged for Bracey and Tommy Johnson to make their debut recordings at a session for Victor in Memphis in February of 1928. At that session and another for Victor later that year, Bracey was accompanied on guitar and mandolin by Charlie McCoy. Bracey recorded in more of a jazz mode in late 1929 and early 1930 for the Paramount label in Grafton, Wisconsin, backed by the New Orleans Nehi Boys (Charlie Taylor on piano and “Kid” Ernest Moliere on clarinet, an instrument rarely heard on Mississippi blues recordings). Bracey’s musical breadth is suggested in the 1930 census, where his occupation is listed as a musician in a “hotel orchestra.”
By the mid-‘30s many of the musicians in Bracey’s circle had left the area, and his
Erected 2010 by Mississippi Endowment for the Humanities. (Marker Number 104.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 32° 17.416′ N, 90° 13.17′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is on Fortune Street 0.1 miles east of Hattiesburg Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2185 Fortune St., Jackson MS 39204, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Gowdy Community (approx. half a mile away); Bobby Rush (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jackson State Tragedy (approx. 0.7 miles away); M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge (approx. one mile away); Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) COFO Central Offices (approx. 1.2 miles away); Noel House (approx. 1.2 miles away); St. Mark's Episcopal Church (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jackson.
Also see . . .
1. Mississippi Blues Trail: Ishmon Bracey - Jackson. (Submitted on January 30, 2014, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
2. Wikipedia: Ishmon Bracey. (Submitted on January 30, 2014, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
3. YouTube: 'Woman Woman Blues' ISHMAN BRACEY (1929). Audio recording (Submitted on January 30, 2014, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 30, 2014, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This page has been viewed 346 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on January 30, 2014, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.