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Preserving the Blues Legends - (A modern day Alan Lomax Project) Read more

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Preserving the Blues Legends - (A modern day Alan Lomax Project)

James Poe
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James Poe

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About this project

WABG Radio is a historic station located in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta on Money Road.  It is a perfect setting to perpetuate the blues.  It is located less than a mile from blues man Robert Johnson's grave site. Since 2007 the station has been broadcasting "Blues, News, and Interviews" and highlighting local blues artists, as well as more popular artists like B.B. King, Albert King, and Bobby "Blue" Bland in an effort to keep the blues alive!

Click above to listen to our interview with Academy Award winner, Morgan Freeman and owner of Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss.
Click above to listen to our interview with Academy Award winner, Morgan Freeman and owner of Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss.

After the death of Mr. Bland on June 26, 2013 at the age of 83 it became obvious that not enough was being done in the delta to recognize and preserve their places in history, so our project was born.  This project entails compiling recorded interviews with at least a dozen of the aging greats in the blues industry, much like what Alan Lomax did in the 1930s. This project intends to capture the life stories of these artists and preserve their place in history as they would want it to be told. Our researchers will set up interviews and chase down a select number of these artists to compile specially produced radio shows to be broadcast to our Mississippi Delta listeners and listeners around the world. The cost will include the hundreds of man-hours in production as well as travel, food and lodging to locations like Chicago, Texas, Nashville, and other destinations.  Our "Wish List" includes:  Buddy Guy (77), B.B. King (88), Rory Block (63), Keb Mo (61), James Cotton (78), Johnny Winter (69), Gregg Allman (65), Otis Rush (78), Robert Cray (60), Shuggie Otis (59), Ry Cooder (66),  and Jimmie Vaughn (62). These Twelve one-hour special radio shows about living legends in the Blues will be broadcast throughout the day on WABG Radio.  Our goal is to keep the Blues alive by perpetuating the culture of Mississippi!  The mission of the station is to promote and preserve the music of the Mississippi Delta, bring people of all races closer together, and build a radio station that will educate, inform, and entertain. The station has enjoyed major success with its listenership over the past five years playing music that other stations will not play, such as Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, and other roots and blues music.  These interviews will teach a whole new generation about the blues and hopefully encourage other commercial station to embrace blues formats. 

Risks and challenges

The major challenge in completing this project is a race against time. We started collecting our interviews over 10 years ago, but due to unforseen problems and staffing at the station we were unable to complete them. Another major concern was the uncertain life span of the performers. We had collected in-depth interviews with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, who was was 75 when he died September 16, 2011. Willie "Pine top" Perkins passed at the age of 97 in 2011. His project was pending. We were in the process of putting together the David "Honey Boy" Edwards special when he passed August 29, 2011. Too we had an extensive talk with T-Model Ford, but did not get a chance to present him a copy of his life's story before he passed on July 16, 2013. Mississippi Slim, and Little Dave Thompson are only a few others who are in the archives waiting to be produced and broadcast to the world. We believe that the performers should be lauded by those they help the most by lending their names and fame to our communities in the Mississippi Delta and the state as a whole. It is for this reason we would like to give them their flowers while they are alive. Production of these shows and broadcasting them around the world will be a display of our gratitude to them as well as an education to people everywhere. This could have a profound effect on the preservation and education of the Blues.

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    3 backers Limited (97 left of 100)

    Commemorative post card mailed to your address. This distinctive card features artists who performed at the 100th Anniversary Remembrance Festival in honor of Robert Johnson. The festival was held October 15-16, 2011 on the grounds of WABG Radio Station and featured Rory Block and Maria Muldaur.

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    A distinctive WABG Radio bumper sticker.

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    A personally autographed 8X10 color photograph of James Poe.

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    A personalized CD with Poe introducing you by name and five interviews he conducted with: David "Honey Boy" Edwards, Rory Block, Little Milton, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and The American Made Movie crew's pre-screening interview at WABG Radio on July 7, 2013.

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    Each $1,000 donation. Designed for musicians. WABG Radio will produce an hour-long show featuring the musician, their music and history, including a phone or in person interview. The show will then be broadcast on WABG Radio once a month for 6 months at times and dates designated by the musician.

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    Each $2,000 donation. James Poe will come to you in the continental US or Canada and interview you within 12 months of your pledge incorporating your interview with at least one of the "Legends" in the project. The 15-30 minute interview will then be broadcast once a month on WABG Radio for 12 months.

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Funding period

- (30 days)