A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Elmore James’

Canton, Mississippi

Posted by graywacke on August 5, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Landing number 2202; A Landing A Day blog post number 630.

Dan:  Just one more USer, and my Score will be back where it belongs (below 150), thanks to this landing in . . . MS; 35/35 (note that MS is now “perfectly subscribed,” i.e.,  it’s a PSer); 5/10; 2; 150.2.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2a

The big lake is the dammed-up Pearl River, but I need some creeks to get drainage from my landing to the lake:

 landing 3a

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of Red Cane Creek, on to the Fannegusha Creek (more about the name in a minute), on to the Pearl River (6th hit).  The Pearl (as you may or may not know) acts as the state boundary between MS & LA before discharging into the Gulf of Mexico:

 landing 3b

I love the name “Fannegusha,” and did a little research.  From the book Native American Place Names in Mississippi by Keith Baca, I found this:


There you have it!  The Tasty Squirrel Creek!  Some Choctaw must have killed and cooked a particularly succulent squirrel near the creek at some time in the distant past . . .

Here’s my GE spaceflight on in to central Mississippi (click below and hit the back button after view):


And yes, there’s Street View coverage right next to my landing!  Here’s where I put the orange dude:

 SV map 1

And here’s what he sees:

 SV landing 1

For additional interest, I put Mr. Orange down the road past the intersection:

 SV map 2

And here’s what he sees from this vantage point:

 SV landing 2

Bilbro’s Corner, eh?  Of course I Googled it, and found this on MerchantCircle.com:

About Bilbro’s Corner

Bilbro’s Corner is located at 289 Highway 481, Pelahatchie, MS. This business is a Convenience Store and has 1 review(s) with a star rating of 5.0.

Here’s the 5-star review (by Mitch Tyner, Decemeber 2009):

“Unfortunately this old country store closed after being open for over 50 years.”

I moved the orange dude a few feet towards the intersection, and I could see what remains of the old Bilbro’s Corner Store:

 SV Bilbro's Corner

There you have it.

Based on my local landing map (and the farm country where I landed), it looks like I’m pretty much out in the boonies.  Well, not really.  Here’s an expanded landing map:

 landing 2b

Not only did I land in the greater Jackson area, you can see that there were many other towns (besides Canton) that I could have featured (including Jackson itself).  I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for possible hooks for the many smaller towns, and for Jackson as well. 

And even though I couldn’t find anything of compelling interest about Canton, Canton it is.

One thing that attracted me to Canton is the lovely town square.  Here’s a GE view from above:

 GE town square

That’s the old County Courthouse in the middle of the square; here’s a GE Panoramio shot by Ben Tate:

 pano Ben_Tate

Staying with Ben, here’s a shot of some of the businesses around the square:

 pano ben tate 2

And here’s a Street View shot of some more:

 SV town square 1

Here’s a cool perspective, from the town’s website homepage:

 from town website

Under Notable People, the Canton Wiki entry lists Elmore James.  As regular readers know, Elmore James is an old-school Delta Blues musician, who I have featured more than once on this blog.  Here’s what Wiki has to say about his connection to Canton (and nearby Jackson):

During World War II, James joined the United States Navy, was promoted to coxswain and took part in the invasion of Guam. Upon his discharge, James returned to central Mississippi and settled in the town of Canton with his adopted brother Robert Holston. Working in Robert’s electrical shop, he devised his unique electric sound, using parts from the shop and an unusual placement of two D’Armond pickups.  Around this time James learned that he had a serious heart condition.

He began recording with Trumpet Records in nearby Jackson in January 1951, first as sideman to the second Sonny Boy Williamson and also to their mutual friend Willie Love and possibly others, then debuting as a session leader in August with “Dust My Broom”, which was a surprise R&B hit in 1952.

As a left-brained white easterner, “Dust My Broom” makes no sense.  Wiki has a robust entry about the song (written by Robert Johnson) that includes this about the title phrase:

Attempts have been made to read a hoodoo significance into the phrase “dust my broom”.   However, bluesman Big Joe Williams, who knew Robert Johnson and was familiar with folk magic, explained it as “leaving for good … I’m putting you down, I won’t be back no more”.  Music writer Ted Gioia also likens the phrase to the biblical passages about shaking the dust from the feet and symbolizing “the rambling ways of the blues musician”.

Anyway, here’s a You Tube video of “Dust My Broom” from MusicAreaHQ, that includes the lyrics.



One must appreciate that this is 1952, and this raucus rock ‘n roll sound was brand new.  As an aside, it was music just like this (and probably including this very song) that caught the ear of four young lads in Liverpool . . .

The town’s website has this to say about how the town got its name:

There are two stories concerning the naming of Canton, and both attribute the name to Chinese origin. One states that Canton, Mississippi is the exact opposite side of the world as Canton, China, and was thus named. The other story states that the daughter of a Chinese family died in the area and the sympathetic community named the town for the family. There is really no more proof for one over the other, it’s just which one you wish to believe.

Quite frankly, I believe neither.  I mean, really.  First, Canton Mississippi has no valid claim to be on the exact opposite side of the world as Canton, China.  In fact, using a “Map Tunneling” tool, here’s what I found (the plus signs are exactly opposite of each other):

 map tunnel

So, central Mississippi is opposite the central Indian Ocean between Australia and Madagascar.  And I have trouble with the sweet but extremely unlikely story about the Chinese family.  Here’s ALAD’s official version:

Canton Mississippi was named by an early settler who traveled there from Canton, Ohio, which was settled about 20 years before Canton, Mississippi. 

JFTHOI*, here’s what Wiki has to say about how Canton, Ohio got its name:

Bezaleel Wells, [great name!] the surveyor who divided the land of the town, named it after Canton, China. The name was a memorial to a trader named John O’Donnell, whom Wells admired. O’Donnell had named his Maryland plantation after the Chinese city, as he had been the first person to transport goods from Canton to Baltimore.

*  Just for the heck of it

Moving right along . . .

The town’s website also says this (talking about the Courthouse Square):

In recent years, the beauty, uniqueness, and preservation efforts of our Courthouse Square and Historic District, with its beautiful homes, have attracted the attention of Hollywood. In addition to five major films* shot at least in part in Canton, PBS again chose the town for a segment of a six hour blues documentary on blues great Skip James to air in 2003.

* including Mississippi Burning and O Brother Where Art Thou

So I looked up Skip James, and it turns out he is from Bentonia.  This little town is northwest of Canton and is visible on my expanded local landing map, above.

From Wiki:

The “Bentonia School,” or “Bentonia Blues” is described as the unique, haunting, country blues style that originated in and immediately around the small town of Bentonia.

Bentonia was the hometown of Henry Stuckey, founder of the Bentonia style of Blues, and his two famous students, Skip James and Jack Owens.

Bentonia is also home of the historic Blue Front Café where owner Jimmy “Duck” Holmes (a student of Jack Owens) keeps it authentic, especially when he breaks out his box for an impromptu performance

The annual Bentonia Blues Festival is held the third Saturday of June in downtown Bentonia.  The festival’s Blues Stage is always set up in front of the world-famous Blue Front Café.

Here’s a video (posted by Frank Diaz) of Jimmy Duck Holmes playing Bentonia Blues in his very own Blue Front Café:


Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of the Blue Front Café (by Benz72):

 pano benz72

The placard marks the Café as one of the stops on the “Mississippi Blues Trail” (featured numerous times on ALAD).

Time to close this down, with the closest Panoramio shot to my landing (about 6 miles west, just east of the lake, by Bill Koplitz:

 pano bill koplitz


That’ll do it . . .




© 2015 A Landing A Day





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Pickens, Mississippi

Posted by graywacke on January 25, 2009

Never been here before?  Check out “About Landing,” above.


Dan –  A good way to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth brought on by three OSers in a row is to land in the US-friendly Southeast.  That’s right – all of the southeast states are US:  AL (20/28), MS (24/26), GA (24/32), FL (23/35), LA (26/27) and SC (15/17).

 Today’s landing is in one of those that’s headed towards PS-land . . . MS; 25/26; 5/10; 6; 166.0.

Man, still hanging out in the mid 160’s.  Here’s a graphic from my landing spreadsheet showing the Score for my last 200 landings:


As you can see, I’ve been pretty much treading water the last 80 or so landings.  I wonder when the LG will see fit to get that Score down to 160.  We’ll see . . .

Back to the landing.  I landed in the Dry Ck watershed (my 13th landing in a watershed drained by a stream named “Dry Creek”; my 18th stream with the word “dry” in its name); on to the Big Cypress Ck (my 59th stream with the word “big” in its name); on to the Big Black R (4th hit); on to the MM.

I landed between the towns of Pickens, Midway, Ebenezer and Goodman (closest to Pickens).  I’m east of Highway 61 (remember my Como MS landing with the song by Mississippi Fred McDowell), but just about exactly 100 miles due south of that landing.  Here’s a map (oops – Midway is just off the map to the west):


Here’s a broader map view:


I fear that this is a GD area –  I could find nothing much in Google about any of these towns.  The one exception is the fact that like Como, this landing has a famous blues musician, one Elmore James.  Elmore was born in Richland, which is between Ebeneezer and Goodman.  He was born in Richland in 1918 and died of a heart attack in Chicago in 1963, at the age of 45.  I suspect he led a hard life.  Anyway, you can pick out his home town of Richland on the landing map.

Like Mississippi Fred, Elmore had a great influence on rock and roll musicians (and like Fred, Elmore was a slide guitar bluesman).  His songs were covered by the Allman Brothers and Jimi Hendrix, and he has been mentioned by the following artists as an inspiration to their music:  B.B. King, Eric Clapton, John Mayall and George Thorogood. 

As is my custom, I’ll provide a YouTube link for you to enjoy his music first hand.  I’ve picked “It Hurts Me Too,” a classic blues song about unrequited love.  I’ve now listened to this song three times, and I really like it.


As is also my custom, here are the words so you can follow along.  (Dan, as you know, one can hit ctrl+the link, and it’ll open up another window, allowing you to listen and read the words at the same time.)

It Hurts Me Too

You said you was hurtin, you almost lost your mind.
Now, the man you love, he hurt you all the time.
But, when things go wrong, oh, wrong with you,
It hurts me too.

You’ll love him more when you should love him less.
Why lick up behind him and take his mess?
But, when things go wrong, whoa, wrong with you,
It hurts me too.

He love another woman, yes, I love you,
But, you love him and stick to him like glue.
When things go wrong, oh, wrong with you,
It hurts me too.

Now, he better leave you or you better put him down.
No, I won’t stand to see you pushed around.
But, when things go wrong, oh, wrong with you,
It hurts me too.

Here’s a picture of Elmore:


Here’s a picture of his gravestone:


And, just to round things out, here’s a picture of an old kudzu-threatened garage in Midway:





© 2008 A Landing A Day

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