Photographer's Note

"Seen the arrow on the doorpost
Saying, "This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem."
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

See them big plantations burning
Hear the cracking of the whips
Smell that sweet magnolia blooming
And see the ghosts of slavery ships
I can hear them tribes a-moaning
I can hear the undertaker's bell
Yeah, nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, God is in heaven
And we all want what's his
But power and greed and corruptible seed
Seem to be all that there is
I'm gazing out the window
Of the St. James Hotel
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell"

- Bob Dylan (1983)


I love music (no secret) and I love travelling (again no secret), so travelling the American Deep South means we just had to include visiting a few gravesites of famous musicians. The whole area is dotted with them.

The only difficulty is in chosing which ones (not) to visit. In the end, because I didn't want to bore my travelling companions too much, I settled for these five:

1) Duane Allman, Berry Oakley & Greg Allman in Macon, Georgia
2) Hank Williams in Montgomery, Alabama
3) Blind Willie McTell in Thomson, Georgia
4) Memphis Minnie in Walls, Mississippi
5) Sonny Boy Williamson in Tutwiler, Mississippi

The wife later added Elvis to the list...I did not mind, of course.


BLIND WILLIE McTELL was one of the pre-war blues greats. He was a master of the 12-string guitar and often sang in a high, haunting voice. His most famous song is "Statesboro Blues", mainly because it was the standard set opener for the mighty Allman Brothers Band.

Blind Willie McTell died of a stroke in Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1959, which means he just missed out on the blues revival in the early sixties. He was buried at Jones Grove Church, near Thomson, Georgia, his birthplace. A fan paid to have a gravestone erected on his resting place. The name given on his gravestone is Willie Samuel McTier.

His legacy was celebrated in a (should be) famous song by Noble Prize winner Bob Dylan. He recorded the track in 1983, but was only released as part of his Bootleg Series in 1991. Dylanologists might know that Bob Dylan had refered to Blind Willie McTell a few times before, most famously in the opening line of the second verse of "Highway 61 Revisited, which goes

"Georgia Sam he had a bloody nose".

Georgia Sam is one of the many aliases Blind Willie McTell used.


song title reference: Bob Dylan

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3045 W: 35 N: 6707] (34748)
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