A piece of Mississippi history was virtually blown away by Friday's destructive storms. Internationally acclaimed Malaco Records on Northside Drive in Jackson was almost reduced to rubble and now the owners are wondering whether they will rebuild after 44 years.
It was 3 years ago this month that Malaco Records was honored with an official marker recognizing it as a Jackson landmark along the Mississippi Blues Trail. The company was founded in 1962 and located on Northside Drive in 1967.
Now, that marker is almost the only thing left standing. A powerful tornado shredded two of the three buildings in the compound. Wolf Stephenson, one of Malaco's founders, was inside with about 15 employees, winding down for the weekend.
Stephenson said, "We started seeing limbs and debris flying through the air and decided we better take cover."
Luckily, says Stephenson, everywhere they took cover remained structurally intact and miraculously, no one was injured. The company, however, was decimated. A room that housed masters of recordings by world famous artists like Dorothy Moore of Misty Blue fame. Record keeping and royalty offices looked like they had been struck by a wrecking ball.
Stephenson said, "The ladies that were in there went up to the front of the coffee room in the front of it and made it through okay. We were lucky."
Stephenson says the warehouse can probably be saved. As for the rest of Malaco Records:
"Well, the buildings are old. It's a real tricky question as to whether or not it's worth rebuilding.", said Stephenson.
So, the independent record label that has provided the world with down home music for decades, now finds itself singing the blues.
Stephenson lamented, "Well, it's just a...it is a very sad feeling to see 44 years of work; 44 years of my life out here gone in 15 seconds, but we'll clean up; come back to cry another day."
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