A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Fayette MS’

Fayette and Red Lick, Mississippi

Posted by graywacke on April 9, 2011

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (then every-other-day blog and now a one-to-three-times a week 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.

Dan –  Phew.  After a miserable 0/6, I finally landed in a USer . . . MS; 31/31; 4/10; 2; 156.3.  As you can see, MS (a long-time USer) is now PS.  Anyway, here’s my landing map, showing that I landed near my favorite highway, Highway 61:

I featured Highway 61 in my Como MS post (12/31/08), including words to the song “Highway 61” by bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Here’s a broader view:

My GE shot shows that I landed in some woods out in the country:

I landed in the watershed of two new “rivers:”  the Little Bayou Pierre and the Bayou Pierre (my 1090th & 1091st rivers).  The Bayou Pierre flows right into the big ol’ MM.

Fayette is a pretty good-sized town (pop over 2000), but I couldn’t find much in the way of history.  I decided to co-feature Red Lick for three reasons:  I like the name, I found something of interest about it, and it’s closer.  Near Fayette is an the Sringfield Plantation.  From Wiki:

One of the oldest mansions in Mississippi, the Springfield Mansion was built between 1786 and 1791. The original plantation had over 3,000 acres and was purchased by Thomas M. Green Jr., a wealthy Virginia planter, in 1784. Thomas had the house built to show off his wealth. The mansion was one of the first houses in America to have a full colonnade across the entire facade and is the first such mansion to be built in the Mississippi Valley. The whole house was built by his slaves out of clay from the land. The hinges, knobs, and all metal tools were built at the plantation’s blacksmith building.

Possibly what makes the Springfield Plantation most famous is the wedding that took place at it in 1791. Thomas M. Green Sr., the owner’s father, married Andrew Jackson and Rachel Donelson at the house in August of 1791. This marriage would lead to one of the first romantic tragedies in America.

The plantation survived the Civil War and the Union occupation of Mississippi during the later half of the 1800s. After numerous owners over the years, the house decayed for decades. Arthur LaSalle was given a lifetime lease of the home by the owners to live in,  repair and give tours of the mansion in the early 1970s. When asked about the mansion when he first arrived, he said, “It was occupied by the rats and pigeons nothing else.” Springfield is still a working plantation. On August 11, 2008 LaSalle died at the Green Family Plantation. The tours have stopped, but the new owners say they will be restarted.

I found this picture, from Junior’s Juke Joint (DeltaBlues.net):

Here’s what Junior had to say about this place:

You’ll find this bar-b-que joint north of Lorman, Mississippi, alongside Highway 61 a few miles north of Fayette, Mississippi. It doesn’t open ’til 5 pm or you’d see an article about it and some photos here in Junior’s Juke Joint. I always pass by it around noon.

Somebody go there and take some photos and tell us about this cool-looking place with a very cool name.

You may recall that I have bumped into Junior before (my Durant MS post).  From his website:

For those of you interested in the difference between a juke joint and a honky tonk, here’s what Junior has to say:

Hey, Junior!  What’s the difference between a juke joint and a honky tonk?

I’m glad you asked.  Here’s the main differences:

The race of the customers.
The race of the girls in the beer posters.
The predominant type of music on the jukebox.
The price of beer.
The amount of violence.

Honky tonk white folks wear nice clothes on Friday and Saturday nights, but juke joint black folks wear their Sunday best. The women wear amazingly colorful outfits, and gold and silver jewelry sparkles everywhere.

Few honky tonks have a kitchen; although 20 years or so ago most of them did. Today, almost every juke joint has a kitchen. Honky tonk customers have cars. They can stop at a late night fast food place on the way home. Many juke joint customers do not own cars and got there on their own two feet. To them, the juke joint is their late night fast food place. Often, it is also their daytime source of fast food.

In several years of visiting Delta juke joints, I’ve never witnessed a fight in any of them. As a comparison, in the same period of visiting honky tonks of my own culture, redneck, I’ve witnessed many fist fights–male/male, male/female, female/female–a knife fight and an actual old west style shootout.

Thanks, Junior.  Click here to visit his funky website.

Of course, Junior loves the Delta Blues.  I wonder if he’s heard of John Byrd, from Red Lick.  I found out about John Byrd through the website for Red Lick Records (www.redlick.com).  Here’s a little history of the company:

Red Lick Records – The Beginnings

When founders and original owners Ken and Ann Smith were looking for a name for their fledgling company, they shut their eyes and stuck a pin in a map of Mississippi and were delighted with the result!

The road sign shown below is of the actual turn off on Highway 61 to Red Lick, Mississippi. It’s a very small place but it boasted one notable blues man called John Byrd who was recorded in the 1930s.

I love it!   I stick a pin in a map (figuratively speaking) for everyone of my landings.  Anyway, from Answers.com, about John:

John Byrd was born in Mississippi in the 1890’s, or possibly earlier. After an early career spent mostly in Mississippi, Byrd moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and made much of his living playing 12-string guitar in a band led by Walter Taylor (who may also have worked as “Washboard Walter”).

Walter Taylor had the more flexible and aesthetically pleasing voice between the two, but even on recordings on which Taylor sang, Byrd’s guitar playing displays the kind of dexterity, in its runs and fills, that gives him equal footing and them some.  His guitar more than made up for any shortcomings, often sounding like the work of two good players rather than a single extraordinary one. Had he been able to remain active after World War II, and come from a city with more of a blues reputation than Louisville, he might’ve been more widely remembered. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

As is my wont, here’s a YouTube link, so you can listen to good ol’ John.  Here’s an album cover featuring John & Walter.

I’ll close with this shot of the elegant Jefferson County Court House in Fayette:

That’ll do it. . .



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