This Blues Marker honors Hernando musicians Gus Cannon, Jim Jackson and Robert Wilkins, who helped establish Memphis as a major blues center in the 1920s.
Gus Cannon was born in nearby Red Banks in 1883 or 1884 and buried in 1979 in Hernando. Gus was a banjo player who also “played the jug.” He wrote and first recorded the song, “Walk Right In,” which became a number one hit in 1963 for the Greenwich Village folk group, the Rooftop Singers.
Jim Jackson was born in Hernando in 1878, placing him among the earliest-born artists to record blues. His most famous song, “Jim Jackson’s Kansas City Blues,” was widely covered by other artists. Jackson died in Memphis in 1933.
Robert Wilkins first met Gus Cannon and Jim Jackson in 1912 while they were performing together at Mary Cotton’s Place in the West End of Hernando. Wilkins recorded eight singles including “Rolling Stone.” In the late 1930s, Wilkins became a Church of God in Christ minister and in the 1960s, he began performing his blues-inflected gospel music on the blues revival circuit. He remade his blues recording “That’s No Way to Get Along” into the gospel song “Prodigal Son,” which was subsequently covered by the Rolling Stones on their Beggars Banquet album.
The Mississippi Blues Trail has markers throughout the state. The sites run the gamut from city streets to cotton fields, train depots to cemeteries, and clubs to churches. Here is a full list of the Blues Trail markers: http://www.msbluestrail.org/blues_marker_list