Image Source: fearlessvk
I’ve dreamed of the delta as long as I’ve heard the sound. Memphis and Vicksburg, Jackson and Dockery and Yazoo City. I imagine the heat and dirt kicking off the tires on Highway 61, before it was revisited, and the smell of magnolias and the silt of the Mississippi and the Yazoo. High cotton in high summer, a rocker on a porch, sweet tea and good conversation. Catfish and ribs and cornbread, and biscuits as big as the sky. I hear the creak of old pine floors and a night full of cicadas. Hand-held fans, Mason jars, all genteel and proper. I see and smell and taste Mississippi America in my minds-eye and ache to see if my imagination is right.
But mostly I hear the delta. Hubert Sumlin and Mississippi Fred McDowell, Charley Patton, Son House and Pinetop Perkins. Robert Johnson selling his soul at the crossroads. I hear the call and response, the holler, the moan of redemption and exaltation in song. America, Americana, American Roots, American Blues. I hear a bottleneck against heavy strings raised well above the neck and the stomp of a foot keeping time. I hear one man playing three parts simultaneously and singing of a life of oppression on the plantation and salvation through Jesus: guttural and low, then liberated and blessed. I hear the spirit and soul of America and her promise and her shame. We Shall Overcome, Eyes On The Prize.
I dream of the delta and the sound of America, and I pick up the tune and join in the verse…