Clarksdale in Coahoma County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
One of Clarksdale's most talented and renowned blues musicians, Wade Walton (1923-2000) chose to pursue a career as a barber rather than as a professional entertainer. Walton never lost his love for blues, however, and often performed for customers and tourists at his barbershops, including the one he operated at this site from 1990 to 1999. Walton, a popular and respected local figure and a charter member of the city's NAACP chapter, was inducted into the Clarksdale Hall of Fame in 1989.
Wade Walton’s contributions to the blues extended well beyond the music he made playing harmonica and guitar and slapping out rhythms with a straight razor and razor strop. Blues enthusiasts, researchers, and musicians called on him at his barbershops for information and introductions, and Walton often escorted visitors around the area. Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson No. 2, and Ike Turner (whom Walton claimed as a protege) all had their hair cut at Wade's.
Born October 10, 1923, or possibly earlier by some accounts, on Lee May's plantation in Lombardy, Mississippi, Walton was raised on the Goldfield plantation near the state penitentiary at Parchman. His brother Hollis played guitar, sometimes alongside Tony Hollins, an influential Delta bluesman who also worked as a barber; another
In 1960 producer Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records and British author Paul Oliver recorded Walton and guitarist Robert Curtis Smith at the Big 6. Smith also recorded an impressive LP for Bluesville, Clarksdale Blues, in 1961. Walton saw little financial return from his records, reinforcing his decision to remain a barber. Even more disheartening was an ill-fated
Erected 2011 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 126.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 34° 12.061′ N, 90° 34.318′ W. Marker is in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in Coahoma County. Marker is at the intersection of Issaquena Avenue and Blues Alley, on the right when traveling south on Issaquena Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 317 Issaquena Avenue, Clarksdale MS 38614, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. W. C. Handy (a few steps from this Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Delta Blues Museum (about 500 feet away); Ike Turner (about 500 feet away); Sam Cooke (about 600 feet away); WROX Radio (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dr. Aaron Henry (approx. 0.2 miles away); Aaron Henry (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clarksdale.
Also see . . .
1. Mississippi Musicians biography. (Submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
2. Wikipedia article on Wade Walton. (Submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 215 times since then and 39 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 28, 2015, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.