Saturday, May 14, 2011

Highway 61 Under Water?

I have to confess that my knowledge of the geography of the Southern states is weak.  So, when I see footage of the current flood damage on television, I have only a vague sense of the places where the footage has been shot.  However, there is one location down there that has nothing to do with either the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement that should resonate with anyone who believes in taking a broad view of music history.  This is the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 49 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where (legend has it) Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil and became the blues master that so many find inspirational.  I had to go to Wikipedia to find out that Clarksdale is in Coahoma County, which is one of the Mississippi counties that sits on the Mississippi River.  Thus, it did not surprise me to read Robert Lee Long’s report in the Desoto Times Tribune that Coahoma County had been declared eligible to receive Federal disaster assistance.  My guess, however, is that Clarksdale is far enough inland that its famous intersection was never threatened.  Does the Devil still hang out there;  and was he protecting it (and Clarksdale as part of the bargain)?

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