Look Around Mississippi: Vicksburg Blues - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

05/20/08

Look Around Mississippi: Vicksburg Blues

By Walt Grayson
walt@wlbt.net

People are happy to be singing the blues again.  I wasn't aware of this, but evidently live music is becoming a thing of the past. Until now.  Every and 4th Tuesday the band plays it like there's no tomorrow in Vicksburg.

The Central Mississippi Blues Society sponsors it.  And it's a place you can go and I can go and get happy hearing the blues.

Just after dark, the cars start claiming the precious parking places at L.D.'s Kitchen by the river front, just across from the murals in downtown Vicksburg.  People are coming here to hear live blues.  The free crawfish buffet at intermission might be a draw, too.  But it's the music that's the pied piper.  What was once as common as cotton in Mississippi, live blues in clubs and juke joints everywhere, is becoming as rare as cotton is becoming now that the plantations are raising corn for cars.

"Live entertainment is kind of dying out.  And we are trying to bring it back and give people the feel of real good live entertainment instead of coming out to the disco club and entertaining themselves all the time," said Dennis Fountain. 

Dennis Fountain is a member of the Central Mississippi Blues Society.  He'll be singing tonight. So will Abdul Rasheed.  He's the talent coordinator for the society and says although blues was born in the Delta, it has lots of cousins. And the society plays them all.

"Actually, the Delta blues, I believe it's all mixed up now.  We have Delta blues and we have some like Chicago blues.  We mix it all up.  A little bit of R&B.  But we do a lot of blues," said Rasheed.

Malcolm Shepherd is the president of the organization.  There is almost a missionary thrust to reviving these live performances.  "Our goals are to promote the blues, to provide education on the blues, and to promote live music and to treat the blues as a performing art and a literary art and an educational tool."

I love King Edward.  I could listen to him play and watch his face as he does so all night.  It was quite a show.  And the only way you didn't have a good time is if you weren't here. 

Shepherd said, "Everybody else around the world has made money off the blues except the people that really promoted it and where it started and that's my home state, Mississippi."

So the blues is back in town.  And that makes everybody happy.  Every other Tuesday at L.D's in Vicksburg.

"How ‘bout it for the band!" coming from the stage.

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