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Mississippi Blues by William Brown

On March 16, 1942, blues historian and archivist, Alan Lomax met William Brown in a tailor shop on Beale Street.  They drove together across the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge to a shack called Hamp’s Place, located in the middle of a cotton field. There in what Lomax described in his book, Land Where the Blues Began, as a, “sweet true country voice” with “delicate guitar passages at every pause,” he recorded William Brown’s performance of Mississippi Blues.  That night Lomax heard a man say, “That’s the blues, that’s the Delta Blues.”

We set our recording equipment up on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River (Tom Lee Park) in sight of the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge.  There is a houseboat making its way down the river in front of us.  A few barges pass in the distance.  A light breeze picks the air up off the river to rustle the trees and challenge the buzzing bees and chirping birds.  This is a great setting to begin our musical journey south.  We look across the mighty river in the direction of Hamp’s Place and record again, William Brown’s Mississippi Blues.