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Mississippi Bottom Blues by Kid Bailey

“The Mississippi Delta begins in the Lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg.”  
David L. Cohn
God Shakes Creation (1935)

The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, especially its banquet rooms, became temporary studios where many of the early blues performers recorded.  One of the mystery men to pass through these doors was Kid Bailey.  Music historians know little about him except that he recorded two tunes at the Peabody on September 25, 1929.  Most likely he was from Mississippi, possibly even the Dockery Farms area judging from the words and tune to one of his songs, Mississippi Bottom Blues.

It’s a cool day, threatening to rain as we make our way to the Peabody.  We carry our equipment through the lobby, past the marble fountain and the world famous Peabody ducks.  A player grand piano entertains the diners, the guests and us.  Music floats past the huge chandeliers and high, ornamented ceilings to the mezzanine, and toward our destination, the Cockrell Room.  Employees call this one of their small banquet rooms, but it is far from being small.  In a way we feel a touch of what struggling sharecroppers must have felt on those days so many years ago as they came to record.  It’s almost heaven to travel so far to get here.  Delicate music floats up from below.  We turn the recorder on and close the massive wooden door.  Our journey begins.