American Blues musician CeDell Davis plays guitar on the Blues Alley Main Stage at the 13th Annual Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, Clarksdale, Mississippi, August 11, 2000. Davis uses a butter knife as a slide, a method he learned overcoming a childhood bout of polio. (Photo by Linda Vartoogian/Getty Images)

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Mississippi Delta

A long, low land of silent cotton plots bending under a severe sky, the Delta is a place of surreal, Gothic extremes. Here, in a feudal society of great manors and enslaved servitude, songs of labor and love eventually became American pop music. Those songs traveled from Africa via sharecropping fields, where they unfolded into the blues and ultimately into rock and roll. Tourism in this area, which still suffers some of the worst rural poverty rates in the country, largely revolves around discovering the sweat-soaked roots of this original American art form. Hwy 61 is the Delta's legendary road, traversing endless, eerie miles of flat fields, imposing agricultural and industrial facilities, one-room churches and moldering cemeteries.


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Memphis, Tennessee, United States, North America, Stax Museum


The tuneful heritage of the American South

Aug 29, 2017 • 8 min read


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