Expect the unexpected. Expect it. (VIDEOS AND PHOTOS IN POST)
Touring serendipity connects Clarksdale, Cleveland and Greenwood on just another day in the Mississippi Delta, a special place rife with ubiquity—we never know what we will see or whom we will encounter. Expect the unexpected. Expect it.
Delta Bohemian Tours escorted Aussie Tarquin Halls-Corbett, an uber-cool school teacher on his summer break, who is loving his extended visit to America, his second. Not following the normative Nashville, Memphis, and Clarksdale to New Orleans run, this Dude is all over the United States, but he loves some Clarksdale. Red Paden even liked him and laid some serious BS on him, a sign of fondness! 😎
Tarquin is a self-effacing cat with locally-noted skills on the bass (played at Ground Zero Blues Club Jam last night), and is also an accomplished guitar player, who admits that he can play most styles of music, but blues is difficult as it requires “feel,” not just proficiency.
What a joy for this tone deaf tour guide to enjoy his favorite music, Hill Country Blues, while driving the Delta for over six hours listening to R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Cedric Burnside, Kenny Brown, The Black Keys, North Mississippi Allstars, and many more with a musician who “gets” the blues and what birthed it—our Delta Terroir.
We discussed lots of Clarksdale and Coahoma County history, visited several illustrious small Delta towns and made the incomparable Money Road run stopping by the Emmitt Till marker in front of the infamous Bryant’s Grocery. Next stop, Little Zion Missionary Baptist (MB) Church, the most reliable gravesite of the King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson; then on to fabled radio station WABG, within site of Johnson’s grave. We were hoping to see my buddy, James Poe, owner, program director and DJ.
Every Delta Bohemian tour produces unpremeditated brushes with characters worth encountering. Today was no exception. As Tarquin and I drove up to Little Zion MB Church, I saw a Greenwood Visitor’s Center van and two ladies walking toward Johnson’s grave. I introduced Tarquin and myself to Danielle Morgan, Executive Director of the Greenwood Convention and Visitors Bureau and Carlee Calderon, Sales Manager with the Cleveland Grammy Museum.
Danielle said she was showing Carlee what Greenwood had to offer, taking her to influential sites in and around the city. How cool! She had recently seen our post on The Delta Bohemian® regarding “Keep Clarksdale.” We talked a bit about the importance of making visitors feel welcome, assisting tourists in connecting relationally with locals, and the vital need of Delta towns to love on each other.
Madge Marley Howell and I have recently requested input via The Delta Bohemian® about what can be done to “Keep Clarksdale” vibrant, growing, and a place where tourists will continue to come again and again. What a day! Thank you, Lord!
Please enjoy our spontaneous, unrehearsed videos of another serendipitous day in the Mississippi Delta. Cheers! Chilly Billy