Mississippi Mound Trail

On one of the episodes of Theme Time Radio Hour Bob Dylan himself says that the actual highway 61 is boring now, nothing but ads for riverboat casinos.  That may be true south of Vicksburg but north of the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum and the Catfish Row Art Park, I found the road compelling.

Mississippi Fred McDowell was born of course in Rossville, Tennessee.

It was Dave [David L. Cohn] in God Shakes Creation who said, “The Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel and ends on Catfish Row in Vicksburg.” He was always welcome at the Peabody; they were glad to see him – he stayed there whenever he was in Memphis – but they never even gave him a cup of coffee, and he thought it was rather amusing that they had so little appreciation of this publicity.

So says Uncle Shelby, of Greenville and Memphis:

Since we’d been to Memphis we steered towards Oxford Miss to visit Faulkner’s house:

On Highway 61 lots of blues type sites, Muddy Waters’ birthplace for instance:

marked by signs for the Mississippi Blues Trail.  But many signs tell you you are also on the Mississippi Mound Trail.

Mounds make a thousand or more years ago by some lost culture, perhaps connected to the people who built Cahokia:

And where in the beginning the predecessors crept with their simple artifacts, and built the mounds and vanished, bequeathing only the mounds in which the succeeding recordable Muskhogean stock would leave the skulls of their warriors and chiefs and babies and slain bears, and the shards of pots, and hammer- and arrow-heads and now and then a heavy silver Spanish spur.

So says Faulkner in his essay Mississippi.  In Sanctuary he says:

The sunny air was filled with competitive radios and phonographs in the doors of drug- and music- stores.  Before these doors a throng stood all day, listening.  The pieces which moved them were ballads simple in melody and theme, of bereavement and retribution and repentance metallically sung, blurred, emphasised by static or needle – disembodied voices blaring from imitation wood cabinets or pebble-grain horn-mouths above the rapt faces, the gnarled slow hands long shaped to the imperious earth, lugubrious, harsh, and sad.

You can only listen to so much of that though; when I pulled over for Dunn Mounds I was listening to Maron interview Jennifer Lawrence.

The Raven map tells the story of the Delta.  Another flooding bottomland is the Nile delta:

where they also kept slaves, and built mounds.

great tour of the Blues Trail sites here on Wiki by Chillin662.



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