Big Boy Martin Grant Remembered

Including a video musical montage

Big Boy Martin Grant playing at Magical Madge and Poor William's pirate wedding

Big Boy Martin Grant playing at Magical Madge and Poor William’s pirate wedding



That’s the way that the world goes “round. You’re up one day and the next you’re down. It’s half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown. That’s the way that the world goes ‘round. — John Prine

Big Boy is Gone and the World is Much Smaller. Tis hard to do a tribute for someone I loved, yet hardly knew. Big Boy Martin Grant was a fine man, an outstanding harp player, a wonderful entertainer and a gentle, slightly demure foil for the affable Sean “Bad” Apple and his Hill Country Blues persona. He passed away on March 6, 2015. I loved this Hill Country Blues team, reminiscent of Abbott & Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Gleason and Carney, Junior and R.L.

Nobody but nobody could watch this team perform without smiling a big-ass, ear-to-ear grin. Sean and Big Boy were part of the storied All Night Long Blues Band, which included a drummer—Dixie Street for a while—Iceman at times, and other sit ins. Always a good time when the band played.

I first met Sean and Big Boy when they played gigs at Madidi, Morgan Freeman’s restaurant, when Magical Madge was managing it. In fact, they were in on my proposal to Madge in the Madidi bar over five years ago, playing a song as I wooed my beloved! Robert Plant was in the house that night and actually called my kids to tell them I was engaged.

Sean and Big Boy played at our wedding at the Clark House Inn a few weeks later. We have seen the peripatetic Big Boy do his “thang” on numerous occasions over the last few years at Ground Zero Blues Club, Red’s Lounge, New Roxy, Madidi, Po Monkey’s in Merigold, King Biscuit Festival in Helena, the IBC’s in Memphis, the Blue Levee in Rosedale, and other venues in the Delta and thereabouts.


I don’t know a lot about Big Boy biography wise, but I knew he had a tough life, worked his ass off at several jobs, was not always treated as the gentle giant should have been, yet he never let life’s hardships deter the joy he drew in performing and facilitating joy in others.

Big Boy owned a small electronic’s shop in Senatobia, MS and delivered papers for the Commercial Appeal. His day began when most musicians were winding down, often rising not long after midnight to begin rolling papers and beginning his delivery. We would often go outside during his musical breaks and share a bit of shine and some conversation. I would ask him how much sleep he would get that night and it was usually none! Straight from gig to paper delivery then to electronics shop.

Even my Mom loved Big Boy! Everyone did! Please enjoy a hastily put together video remembrance Madge and I pieced together today from the gajillion videos we have of him and the All Night Long Blues Band. The solo Sean performs at the end, “That’s the Way That the World Goes Round,” by John Prine, was sung at Ground Zero Blues Club a couple years ago in honor of local musician Charlie Moore. It is also a fitting tribute to Big Boy. Thank you Big Boy and Sean for bringing so much joy to so many folks for so long, all night long, in fact! Vaya con Dios!

P.S. Catch Sean “Bad” Apple’s return to Bluesberry Café in downtown Clarksdale tonight, Monday, April 6, 2015! I am sure there will be a Big Boy remembrance or two and this will officially kick-off the Juke Joint Festival week-long celebration.

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  1. Frank McKenna says:

    Thanks to Billy and Madge for this wonderful and heartfelt tribute to Martin. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  2. Stuck in boring old uk watching big boy with the band.Wish one day i could visit c/ wishes.Bill.”” newcastle upon

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