Last weekend when we were camping in southern Mississippi, one of the campers was complaining about his grown kids and now their kids descending on his house and devouring his food like a plague of hungry locusts. Which put me in mind of a 2002 story in the New Yorker by Jay McInerney about Fat Possum Records and its star blues singer R. L. Burnside, who, when faced with a similar dilemma--compounded by R. L.'s dozen children and their ever-expanding broods--forced Big Daddy, as the paternal Burnside was affectionately called, to take the rather extreme measure of chaining and padlocking his refrigerator's door.
Which, as these campfire tales tend to turn, put Clem, the youngest camper in mind of a blues singer named Cedric Burnside (R. L.'s grandson) who he had recently heard at the University of Southern Mississippi in nearby Hattiesburg.
Which, of course, put me in mind of the long lineage of so-called "hill country" bluesmen who have hailed from the rolling hills of northeast Mississippi, around and near Oxford and Holly Springs. There have been a bunch over the years, starting with slaves from West Africa, whose songs are reinterpreted by African guitarists Ali Farka and Ali Magassa, and percussionist Souleyman Kane on Corey Harris's 2003 "Mississippi to Mali" CD, as well as historic tunes by Sharde Thomas (granddaughter of legendary fife player Otha Turner) & the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, who, by the way, still sponsor one of the many hill country family picnics where a goat or two are roasted and music and dancing are enjoyed all day and all night.
Then, of course, that puts me in mind of one of my favorite Mississippi bluesman, Robert Belfour, who is famous for playing all night until the last dancer drops, without a break or repeating a song, in jukes all over the South. Try his 2003 "Pushin My Luck" album.