the blues

Delta Blues Museum

The Delta Blues Museum was established in 1979. This internationally-acclaimed museum showcases the history and significance of the Blues in this region. It features a wax figure of Blues great Muddy Waters and the famous Muddywood Guitar, videotape and slide-and-sound programs, photographs, recordings, books, memorabilia, archives, and much more. Stovall Plantation was the original home of the Muddy Waters Cabin, which is now located in its new home at the renovated Freight Depot on Blues Alley.

#1 Blues Alley
Tel: (662) 627-6820

Adult $7.00
Children $5.00 (ages 6-12)
Under 6 – Free

Ground Zero Blues Club

Clarksdale, Mississippi has long been described as "Ground Zero" for blues aficionados from around the globe. It all started here. That's why Ground Zero Blues Club® was created — to celebrate the area's rich blues heritage and to provide a forum in which it can continue.

Located at Ø Blues Alley next door to the Delta Blues Museum in the heart of historic downtown Clarksdale, Ground Zero Blues Club® opened in May 2001. Owned by local attorney and businessman, Bill Luckett; Academy Award-winning actor and Mississippi Delta resident, Morgan Freeman; and Clarksdale native and Memphis entertainment executive, Howard Stovall; Ground Zero Blues Club® is the place for anyone looking for an authentic Delta Blues experience.

Our mission is to showcase the best of today's Delta Blues musicians. Although some national acts perform from time to time, visitors are more likely to find the "real deal" at Ground Zero Blues Club® — those musicians who live in the Mississippi Delta and continue in the tradition of their musical forefathers Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Wednesday through Saturday there is always live music at Ground Zero Blues Club® (and even on a few Sundays when the occasion arises). We serve a "down home" menu ranging from  juicy hamburgers to crispy fried catfish and slow-cooked pork barbecue.

Ground Zero Blues Club® has been featured on CBS' 60 Minutes, CNN, Turner South, The Food Network, The Travel Channel, and The Discovery Channel and was the site for filming of Last of The Mississippi Jukes and Blues Divas.

Named in 2005 as one of the "Top 100 Bars and Nightclubs in America” and voted #1 blues club in the nation by The club has been featured in publications such as National Geographic Traveler, Southern Living, USA Today, Esquire Japan, Food and Wine, The Washington Post and TV Guide — to name but a few.


The Shack Up Inn

"The Ritz We Ain't"

Blues lovers making the pilgrimage to the cradle of the blues, the Mississippi Delta, should not miss the unique opportunity to experience Hopson Plantation, located only three miles from the legendary Crossroads, Highways 49 and 61, in Clarksdale. Immerse yourself in the living history you will find at Hopson. Virtually unchanged from when it was a working plantation, you will find authentic sharecropper shacks, the original cotton gin and seed houses and other outbuildings. You will glimpse plantation life, as it existed only a few short years ago. In addition, you will find one of the first mechanized cotton pickers, manufactured by International Harvester, as you stroll around the compound. Spend an evening enjoying live music at Ground Zero Blues Club or Red's Lounge, on the corner of Sunflower and MLK Street and then pass out in one of the renovated shotgun shacks or one of the newly renovated bins in the Cotton Gin. Their corrugated tin roofs and Mississippi cypress walls will conjure visions of a bygone era. Restored only enough to accommodate 21st century expectations (indoor bathrooms, heat, air conditioning, coffee maker with condiments, refrigerators and microwave in all the units), the shacks provide comfort as well as authenticity.




Red's Lounge? It's the definition of a real-deal Mississippi juke joint. Don't expect to be spoiled with amenities. All you need is a been-there-done-that owner, some beers as big as your head and some "live" blues you'll never forget. (Oh, and MAYBE something out front on the grill.) This is how blues became blues... how the music grew up out of the cotton fields and onto a round piece of vinyl. Speaking of which, the building itself was called "Levine's Music Center" back in the day, and it's where Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm bought the instruments that played the first rock 'n roll song. Yeah, Red's is the real thing for sure...


Hopson Plantation Commissary

The Hopson Plantation Commissary stands today in much the same condition as in its glory days over fifty years ago. The building is full of antique and historical items which create a nostalgic atmosphere reminiscent of the deep south Delta

Cotton had always required a large amount of hand labor, at one time over a million families to raise 22 million acres of cotton.

In 1935 the Hopson Plantation began a monumental changeover to become one of the first completely mechanized cotton operations in the world. In the fall of 1944, International Harvester introduced the first cotton picker on the Hopson farm making it the first in the world to grow and harvest a commercial acreage of cotton produced completely by mechanical methods.

From planting, to cultivating, to irrigating, to harvesting, to ginning, the Hopson enterprise became the showplace of Delta farming.


The Blues

This iconic sign welcomes visitors to the spot some residents claim is THE crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. It is the crossroads of two important highways in blues songs and history.

This iconic sign welcomes visitors to the spot some residents claim is THE crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. It is the crossroads of two important highways in blues songs and history.

The city of Clarksdale, situated on the Sunflower River in Coahoma County, Mississippi, is on the northern side of what was the most densely populated area of the Mississippi Delta. At the time of The Great Migration, Clarksdale was the first to welcome Delta farmhands, as well as their musicians and entertainers, on their plight out of the oppressive sharecropping system of the rural plantations and farmlands. Some went no further North, preferring to stay closer to home, seeking refuge and less agrarian employment in Clarksdale.

During the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s Clarksdale was home to Charlie Patton, Bukka White, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Ike Turner, to name just a handful of great bluesmen who staked their claim in Clarksdale.

By the 1950’s Clarksdale was also host to a now-legendary down-home radio station, WROX, which, like other stations in the region, hosted a number of popular bluesmen. Sonny Boy Williamson, most well-known for his King Biscuit Flour program on Helena, Arkansas’ KFFA, often broadcast on Clarksdale radio, as did Dr. Isiaih Ross and so many others.

Consequently, Clarksdale became the first urban center of the blues and it makes the most of that fact even today. The Mississippi Delta’s first blues museum, The Delta Blues Museum, and one of its first yearly blues festivals, The Sunflower River Blues Festival, are both located there, as is the Delta’s first motel made from discarded farm laborers’ shacks, The Shack Up Inn. If you believe in the Crossroads myth, between the town of Clarksdale itself and the site of The Shack Up Inn, there is a rather grandiose marker at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49 where the dubious deal was deemed to have been devined.

A great deal of blues activity has occurred in Clarksdale in the last few years. In addition to all the above, there is a grand juke joint in Morgan Freeman’s & Bill Luckett’s Ground Zero Blues Club. It features blues and other forms of music many nights a week and plays host to some of the South’s great entertainers.