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  Blues in Bukka White's hometown
. . . authentic Mississippi Blues at its best, featuring some of the most outstanding Blues artists of our times. The Bukka White Blues Festival has developed into a destination for those Blues artists - a place where they WANT to perform, a place where several of their own were born and raised . . . AND received the influences that shaped their approach to the Blues.
  Add to the mix - arts and crafts, food concessions, kids' activities, a desert animal show, antique and classic car display and more.
  A featured part of the 2009 Bukka White Blues Festival was the unveiling and dedication of a Mississippi Blues Trail marker in downtown Aberdeen, at the intersection of Commerce (the main street) and Meridian Streets. The text on the marker reads, "ABERDEEN MISSISSIPPI BLUES - In 1940 singer-guitarist Booker "Bukka" White, who lived in Aberdeen during the 1920s and 30s, recorded the blues classic, "Aberdeen Mississippi Blues." Twenty-three years later, the song's title enabled blues researchers to relocate White, who subsequently resumed his recording career. According to Social Security records, two of the most influential blues artists of all time, Chester Arthur "Howlin' Wolf" Burnett and Albert King, claimed Aberdeen as their birthplace."
Bukka White had the distinction of being a cousin of Blues giant B.B. King.  As a matter of fact, it was Bukka who gave B.B. his first guitar, a
 Stella. Born Booker T. Washington White, he first recorded for the RCA Victor label in 1930. His recordings for Victor, like those of many other bluesmen, fluctuated between country blues and gospel numbers. His gospel songs were done in the style of Blind Willie Johnson, with a female singer accentuating the last phrase in each line.
  Nine years later, while serving time in Parchman, Bukka recorded for folklorist John Lomax. The few songs he recorded around this time became his most well known: "Shake 'Em On Down" and "Po Boy."
  When he was 9, his father John White bought him a guitar. His father was a railroad man and many of Bukka's best tunes emulate the driving rhythm of trains and their mournful whistles. After hearing Charley Patton, young Booker decided that he too would be a "great man like Charlie Patton."
Bukka's first recordings were 14 songs done in Memphis in May 1930. One of those songs, The Panama Limited," wasa featured part of Bukka's
 repertoire until his death, and is probably one of the best "train" songs ever recorded. His driving alternating bass evokes the engines and his slide creates the sound of airbrakes and train whistle. The Panama Limited, the New Frisco Train, I Am The Heavenly Way and Promise True and Grand were released on Victor (one secular 78, one Gospel 78) and can be found on the Fabulous CD Panama Limited, along with most of his other prewar recordings (Sic 'Em Dogs On and Po' Boy are not on this CD. If you can find the Travelin' Man CD The Complete Recordings 1930-1940, it includes these two tunes). The remainder were never released.
  While the festival is named in memory of Bukka, it also honors two other Blues legends who hailed from Aberdeen - Chester "Howlin' Wolf" Burnett (Little Red Rooster, Wang Dang Doodle, Smokestack Lightning" and Albert King (Velvet Bulldozer, I'll Play the Blues For You, Born Under a Bad Sign).  All three are prominently featured in a huge new mural which graces the side of a store building at Aberdeen's "main intersection," Commerce Street at Meridian Street.




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