Skip to main content

Blues Charts

June 2024
1min read

Delta Blues Map Kit

Stack-house /Delta Record Mart, Clarksdale, Miss., four maps and a detailed key .

Thinking of visiting Charley Pattern’s grave, Muddy Waters’s house, the places where Robert Johnson played? Don’t leave home without this. The maps themselves are plain black-and-white photocopies, but the main one is keyed with dozens of numbers to a dense and spirited rundown of Mississippi landmarks. At Waters’s house “Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top took some wood from the cabin in 1987 to make the famous ‘Muddywood Guitar’ but the house doesn’t have much wood left to lose now—hands off, bozos!” At Clarksdale’s Riverside Hotel, formerly the hospital where Bessie Smith died, the owner “says she remembers Ike Turner ‘when he was still in his mama’s belly’ [and] is a delightful and gracious lady.” The guide also recommends places for shopping, dining, and hearing live blues today. In its general planning tips it advises, under the heading YES, BUT IS IT SAFE?: “The purpose of jook joints is to provide a venue for jooking—partying and having fun. ... I will adopt this motto: If I get killed in a jook joint, I promise not to recommend that anyone else go there. But until then, let’s go jookin’!”

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate