Live from the Mississippi Delta
Panny Flautt Mayfield
Live from the Mississippi Delta showcases a rare collection of photographs and stories about musicians from Robert Plant, B. B. King, and ZZ Top to local guitarists playing gigs on the weekend. Panny Flautt Mayfield, a lifelong Delta resident from Tutwiler and an award-winning journalist, documents multiple decades of blues and gospel music in her native land. Her first book collects over two hundred black-and-white and color photographs from a long career of photographing live music. The book opens with Robert Plant addressing senior citizens gathered in Tutwiler, to honor their town as the birthplace of the blues. From there, the book proceeds throughout the Delta from juke joints and festivals to blues markers and museums. Mayfield presents images and tales of local icons such as Early Wright, Wade Walton, and the Jelly Roll Kings, as well as international celebrities. She shares intimate photos, including Garth Brooks and Bobby Rush charming elementary school kids in West Tallahatchie, along with insider stories and photos of B. B. King's Homecoming, the Governor's Awards, the Delta Blues Museum, the Sunflower and King Biscuit festivals, and a fascinating side trip to the Notodden Norway Blues Festival, which has a rich sister-city relationship with Clarksdale and the Sunflower Festival.
Years ago volunteer tour guide Shirley Fair announced to visitors that there is a church or a juke joint on every corner in Clarksdale. Those demographics are still mostly accurate. Igniting a high-octane finale are photographs taken at iconic juke joints such as Smitty's Red Top, the Bobo Grocery, the Rivermount Lounge, Po' Monkey's, Hopson, Shelby's Dew Drop Inn, the Rose, Ground Zero, Sarah's Kitchen, Margaret's Blue Diamond, and Red's.