The Headstone Has Been Placed For Bluesman Willie Brown.
It was grossly overdue – but Willie Brown, the mysterious bluesman who quietly made a massive impact on music, finally gets his headstone. It was placed early afternoon on February 23rd, 2011.
For those of you unfamiliar with Willie Brown, here is a severely brief biography:
Willie Brown was one of the most talented, gifted, underrated, amazing, delta blues musicians to ever live. His impact on the blues, rock and roll, and all other forms of music is highly underrated. He played with all the greats including Robert Johnson, Son House, and countless others. He was once listed as the emergency contact on a Robert Johnson employment record. His name is shouted out in desperation during Johnson’s “Crossroad Blues” – You can run you can run. Tell my friend boy, Willie Brown. Willie Brown died a lonely death on December 30, 1952, and is currently buried at The Good Shepherd Church in Tunica County, MS. His death was so emotional for Son House that he laid his guitar down and refused to play for over 10 years. Want to learn more about Willie Brown? Read about his Death Certificate and mysteries, learn about his burial place, or check out his Census Record.
Our good friends at The Delta Blues Blog wanted to give back to the blues, and coordinated a benefit in Florida, with all proceeds going to purchasing, engraving, and placing a headstone for the legendary and mysterious bluesman Willie Brown. $2100 was needed to purchase the headstone. A number of greatly talented blues musicians donated their time and energy, including Lee Pons, Sean Chambers, Ed Wright, Damon Fowler, and The Backwater Blues Band. Concert T-Shirts were made and blues t-shirts and merch were donated by Bluescentric.com, Legends Guitars in conjunction with Dean Guitars donated a beautiful guitar, the Legendary Blues Cruise donated tickets, author Allen Whitley donated a signed copy of his book, “Where Southern Cross The Dog“. Mary Lou Sullivan, who we interviewed last year, donated a signed copy of her Johnny Winter autobiography “Raisin’ Cain”.
The turnout was wonderful, with roughly 150 in attendance. Between website donations and the benefit, the entirety of the funds were secured. After the money was raised, a great deal of work went into erecting the monument. Gayle Dean Wardlow, David Evans, and other blues scholars were enlisted to determine the most appropriate wording on the headstone. Ellis D., from Tunica acted as a liaison in the area, and verified the facts and guided efforts locally, including securing a local memorial company. Scott Peeples, who runs The Nowell-Memorial Funeral Home, is personally responsible for ordering and erecting the headstone. These two are owed a great debt for their efforts.
The Delta Blues Blog had this to say:
All said and done, we finally got the headstone erected. It was a wonderful journey, and we are quite proud to have been a part of it. We are humbled and overjoyed to have been able to give back to the music that has given us so much. It truly was a pleasure working with all the people involved. To learn more, check out the Willie Brown Blues Benefit Page for concert photos, t-shirts, and more.
American Blues Scene would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to Jason at The Delta Blues Blog for his many efforts and long hours of fundraising and coordination in placing a headstone for such an important figure in musical history. We were fortunate enough to be involved with the effort nearly from it’s inception to now, and the Delta Blues Blog has selflessly gone far above and beyond the call of blues duty in their efforts, and deserve a massive thank you.