August 28, 2009 11:24:00 AM
Bukka White, a cousin of legendary musician B.B. King, is said to have given King his first guitar.
Now, to recognize a local bluesman, honor his family still remaining in the area and bring in more tourists, a group of Aberdeen residents and fans of White are trying to raise money to get a Mississippi Blues Trail marker placed in downtown Aberdeen.
"Bukka White was a first-generation bluesman, born either in, around or in between Aberdeen and Houston," explained Matthias Fischer, an Aberdeen resident instrumental in efforts to obtain the blues marker.
According to All Music Guide, White was born in Houston but also had family ties to Aberdeen.
"However, he spent a great deal of time in Aberdeen, eventually writing his signature song, ''Aberdeen Mississippi Blues,''" Fischer added.
In 2009, Aberdeen''s annual Blue Bluff Festival was renamed the Bukka White Blue Bluff Festival; the marker is scheduled to be unveiled during the festival, which will be held Oct. 16 and Oct. 17.
Serving on the festival committee, Fischer decided Aberdeen needed a marker to honor White and called a historian with the Mississippi Blues Trail project.
"He not only told me that Aberdeen was definitely getting a marker for Bukka White, but that the marker will also mention Howlin'' Wolf and Albert King," Fischer recalled, referring to two other blues musicians. "The name of the marker will be Aberdeen Mississippi Blues, named after Bukka White''s song."
The marker likely will be placed "right in the middle of downtown," Fischer noted.
"With ample parking nearby, visitors can see the beautiful town, perhaps do some shopping or grab a bite to eat at Penny Lane''s or Tony''s Cafe," he said. "(The marker) will help bring recognition to the annual Bukka White Blue Bluff Festival. Tourists come from all over the world to visit Mississippi on blues vacations. Having the marker will help bring visitors to downtown Aberdeen, helping them see what a beautiful town we have.
"I really think it''s important for Mississippi to embrace the blues, as it''s probably the state''s greatest gift to the world," he added.
The state will pay for half of the $4,000 cost of the marker, but the group needs to raise the remaining needed funds, Fischer said.
To donate, contact the Aberdeen Visitors Bureau at 662-369-9440.