Leaving Mississippi, Birmingham bound

Series of events set to mark Birmingham’s place in the blues.

Local record label and promoter Big Bear Records will present Leaving Mississippi, Birmingham Bound over the three evenings of October 4th, 5th 6th at Tte Mockingbird Cinema in Digbeth, Birmingham, tracing the development of the blues from the Mississippi Cotton Belt, through Big City USA to the great Britain Blues Boom of the 1960s.

The first evening, Mississippi Seeds opens with Chickenbone John (front pic) and his self-made Cigar Box Guitar along with his sidekick Harmonica Dave, before moving to the Mississippi Juke Joints with Bob Wilson & Honeyboy Hickling and The Whiskey Brothers.

The second night is Bright Lights, Big City, showcasing the blues of Memphis, New Orleans and Chicago with Wang Dang Doodle, The Shufflepack and Tipitina (pictured).

The final night, Here Come The Brits reflects 1960s British Blues from the early Rolling Stone era, today’s British blues and, finally, the music from the first two Black Sabbath albums.

The bands taking care of this business are The Nitecrawlers, Dirk Digglers Blues Revue and Sabbra Cadabra. Black Sabbath were originally a straight-ahead blues band who, as the Blues Boom faded, stepped out and single-handedly invented the style heavy metal, which itself has inspired innumerable sub-styles, all of who acknowledge Black Sabbath as the fountainhead.

Sabbath are largely responsible for Birmingham being acknowledged by many as UK capital of rock & roll. But there is another direct link between the blues of Mississippi and Birmingham.

At the end of the 1970s, the American blues publication Living Blues wrote that the most interesting recordings of 1970s American bluesmen were probably recorded by Big Bear Records of Birmingham, England, who rediscovered and recorded some legendary American bluesmen, such as Tommy Tucker, Mickey Baker, Homesick James, Eddie Playboy Taylor, Doctor Ross, Lightnin’ Slim – many of which were Mississippi born.

The music kicks off at 7:30pm on each of the three nights. Admission is free and unticketed, though blues fans are advised to arrive as doors open at 7pm to be sure to get a seat.