Blues Names On A Wall In Clarksdale

Names of musicians written in red on a blue wall

What we see depends on who we are.

Those who haven’t heard of the blues or don’t enjoy that style of music might read this as meaningless letters – at best, a word puzzle.

Others might spot favourite musicians, translate their names to much-loved songs, and be transported to the atmosphere of a different place and time when they first saw an album cover, heard their music or witnessed them play.

Like me, you might see the word ‘green’ and smile at the millisecond of disconnection it creates, painted red on a blue background; note the mix of lower and upper case letters and pause to think about how some would be great used in a font (the ‘f’ in Jefferson, the ‘n’ in blind…); and  observe I’ve cut the edges off a bit tight cropping this square to join in with Becky’s July Blues. Well, we’ve got to have something to be unhappy about if we’re going to sing the blues, haven’t we, or am I getting this all wrong?

30 thoughts on “Blues Names On A Wall In Clarksdale

    • susurrus says:

      I haven’t seen anyone from the wall play live, though I’d have loved to. I am still coming to terms with the fact that Pete Shelley is no longer with us (though that’s a different era).

  1. Timothy Price says:

    One transportive question is can one take the “last train to Clarksdale” to see the Blues Names wall? One could certainly be sad about missing the train and the wall. Or perhaps one looks at it a says they are all “just another name on the wall”. One can say “cool wall! I know who most to the names on the wall are.” At that point one is pointing out one’s love of the blues, or that one knows the names from being old and having heard them over the years, or possibly both. I’m sure there is a slight possibility that my comment might make sense to some folks, otherwise I probably make about as much sense as the mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, and bi-direction writing on the Blues Names On A Wall In Clarksdale.

    • susurrus says:

      It makes sense – and confirms all the suspicions I have about you. 🙂

      For me, the wall takes me back to Darwen’s outside market, browsing though the record man’s stall and finding a compilation album called Stompin’. The names of the artists and the songs seemed as atmospheric as the music.

  2. The Belmont Rooster says:

    Your post brought back many memories while I lived at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi. They had a festival there every year only a few blocks from the mansion. MANY blues singers came from the Delta. I helped decorate for a wedding at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola. Just traveling through the Delta you don’t get the whole picture about the blues. Once you have lived there, got to know the locals, and visited the smaller towns not on the main road, you have a better idea. Not only do they sing the blues, they have lived the life. Many lived a life of blood, sweat, tears, alcohol and drug abuse. The latter two are still pretty bad.

    • susurrus says:

      I’ve never lived in the Delta but have visited often, and driven around the small towns, including Leland. It’s the home of Kermit the Frog, my sweetheart tells me.

      • The Belmont Rooster says:

        There is a little more to the story, actually. The Muppet Museum is in Leland and Jim Henson and his friend played along Deer Creek as kids. I believe Jim’s friend was nicknamed Kermit and I think they actually lived in Stoneville. If you go back to Leland, look up The Thompson House Bed and Breakfast, 111 N. Deer Creek Drive West. That is my old home. 🙂

  3. Oddment says:

    I tried to comment last night but couldn’t. So I sang the blues. Now trying again — and isn’t that part of the blues? Actually, my comment was about the stark truth (which I loved) in your very first sentence. We do indeed see according to who we are. I don’t know much about the blues, but I do know blinding color when I see it. What a wall that must be — it’s like an explosion and the letters are mere shards of names. I’d need dark glasses to read the whole of it, I’m sure. Some names popped out at me, but not many. But that’s who I am. Exactly so.

    • susurrus says:

      Reading the comments does underline my point. We all have a musical context that stays strong in us, if we enjoy our music. I’m guilty of surfing the blues, enjoying the songs as a whole, rather than appreciating the differences and nuances of each artist.

      The colour combination offers a dislocation – it works well for this, but I wouldn’t care to read a book in it.

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