Memphis Marker Honors Blues Music

Memphis Marker Honors Blues Music
May 8, 2009
Les Smith
My Fox Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - They've dubbed it the Blues Highway - that mythical, but musical trail, which languidly winds through the Mississippi Delta.

But, until Friday, it's most northern destination point never really got its due. Yes, Memphians we are now officially brothers-in-arms with the legendary Mississippi Blues Trail.

On hand for a ceremony, Mississippi Tourism executive, Craig Ray, gushed, "We are delighted to be here today in the city of Memphis, as many call the "Home of the Blues. Mississippi loves to be called the 'Birthplace of the Blues,' and so we're connecting the dots today."

Yes, we'll now occupy dot seventy-two after being presented with a marker identifying our location on that glorious route that glides down Highway 61. But, perhaps no man is as familiar with the nooks, crannies, ruts and juke-joints, that have created the route's mystique, any more than Mississippi native son and Memphis adored blues icon, B.B. King. He joined the festivities held outside the FedEx Forum. The King of the Blues was quick to return his admiration for Beale Street. The place he considers his "second home."

King began his remarks with a wish saying, "I want to come and catch one of the Grizzlies games. And I notice one of my favorite factories right over there. My girl Gibson over there. Lucille was...Hello there. (waving to the crowd) I remember when I first came to Memphis in '46. It used to be Memphis in May. So, today it still is as far as I'm concerned. But, having a little blues along with it don't hurt."

Until Friday's presentation, Mississippi had never awarded a marker on the Blues trail outside of the Magnolia State. Having just won another coveted blues award during annual ceremonies Thursday in town, King admitted it had been a great 48 hours in the Bluff City. But, with B.B. in town, we all felt great, too. Just to imagine a little of what it must feel like to be "Ridin' with the King" down music's grandest highway.

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