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Son House Honored With Marker on Highway 61

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Son House, the "father of folk blues," was recognized with a Mississippi Blues Trail marker this week. The unveiling ceremony on Old Highway 61 North, at the site of the old Clack Store in Tunica Resorts, Mississippi.

According to Webster Franklin, who heads the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau, this marker is the first of five that will "celebrate the people and places of Tunica, which helped shape the blues and transform American music."

Son House was born on March 31, 1902, and performed at weekend suppers and dances held at sharecroppers' houses. He worked on plantations and preached at area churches but his real calling was as a bluesman.

While working on a Mississippi plantation, he was recorded for a Fisk University-Library of Congress study led by Alan Lomas and John Work III. Later, they recorded House and and other folk-blues musicians at Clack Store, a commissary and train station.

In 1964, a group of blues fans, including Dick Waterman, drove to Robinsonville in search of House — but he'd retired from music and was living in Rochester, New York. His "rediscovery" was reported in Newsweek, and Waterman managed House's comeback career. House's most notable album was the 1965 Columbia LP, Father of Folk Blues. He seldom performed after the early 1970s and died in 1988. He is buried in Detroit.

— Preston Lauterbach

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