"You only live...once, and when you die you're done, so let the good times roll."—B.B. King
Cecile and I, Susan and Nelson disembarked the American Queen at Greenville, the “Heart & Soul of the Mississippi Delta. We perused some of main attractions in town such as the Flood Museum, Hebrew Union Congregation established in 1880 and rebuilt in 1906, and The First National Bank Building built in 1903.
The next stop was the B.B. King Museum, the number one tourist attraction that was located in King’s hometown of Indianola. It was an old cotton mill where B.B., the son of a Sharecropper worked as a kid. The first thing you see when you see is his tour bus parked in the parking lot.
When we entered the museum we were welcomed by staff and escorted into a room where the United Male Chorus sang several sets of old time, inspirational, gospel music which had us clapping our hands and tapping our feet.
Afterwards, we entered the museum, watched a 15 minute narrated film of recordings and concerts of the greatest Blues Master of all time. There was a part in the film when B.B. admitted to being a naughty young man and his father said, “Boy, you might as well give your heart to God because your tail end belongs to me.”
After viewing all the exhibits and visiting the gift shop we paid our respects at B.B’s gravesite adjacent to the museum. It’s been said that when he was buried they didn’t have enough room in his coffin for his lifelong muse guitar, Lucille.
We then went to the Ebony Club House of Blues for lunch and were entertained by Jake and the Pearl Street Jumpers. They were awesome. One of the guitarists with a red guitar at the right of the stage is the grandson of Muddy Water.
A woman on our tour named Laney began dancing with so much passion, it was as if a tornado hit hit land. Just as I began to take a photo of the band she twirled her scarf over her head and I caught it on camera. She was so into it that Jake invited her up on the stage to dance with him. Afterwards, he said this music sneaks up on you.
Among other songs, the band played Tennessee Whiskey. Setting up the song, Jake said, “We have whiskey here that is 200 proof, we call it moonshine.”
On the way back to the American Queen, our guide said, “Now, I will tell you about B.B. King that they didn’t mention at the museum.” B.B. had 15 children by 15 different women which is ironic since doctors told him he could never have kids since he had a low sperm count. He had 50 grandchildren. He died at 93 and his estate was sued. Unfortunately, the only ones who will see any money are the attorneys. But, B.B. undeniably brought so much joy to a lot of his fans, and his legend will live on. Cecile and I had several opportunities to see him perform. The first time was in smaller venues in Chicago when we were in our early 20s. He was friends with Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Elvis got him to play in white clubs and Ole Blues arranged to have him play in Vegas.
After a nap and dinner, we hooked up with the Bye’s on the American Queen for the 7:45 PM show: "Let Freedom Ring" featuring Jay (Bird) Chalmers & the Syncopators. Jay is known for being Tennessee’s Best Live One-Man-Keyboard Entertainer. He jokingly stated that one of his CDs was a million dollar seller, meaning he has one million dollars worth of CDs in his cellar. Here is a photo that was taken of Jay and I at the end of the show.