Belzoni in Humphreys County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
Turner's Drug Store
The names of Turnerís 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 Turnerís 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 of his own, including his signature tune, “Dust My Broom.” WAZF laid a direct telephone line to Belzoni and built a local studio to commence an enhanced schedule of remote broadcasts
Williamsonís 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. Turnerís 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 werenít on the radio, they were liable to be found playing on the streets, in front of Turnerís, and at various juke joints and cafes, including Jake Thomasí and Jack Andersonís. James once lived on the Turner Brothersí plantation with his family and his
Erected 2010 by the Mississippi Blues Trail. (Marker Number 106.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
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 Street and East Jackson Street, on the right when traveling north on South Hayden Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 102East Jackson Street, Belzoni MS 39038, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 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); Pinetop Perkins (approx. 1.5 miles away); Hank Cochran (approx. 7.7 miles away); Little Milton Campbell (approx. 13.6 miles away); Inverness (approx. 13.6 miles away).
Also see . . .
1. The 2010 Turner Dedication. (Submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 18, 2014, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 284 times since then and 30 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.