60 years in the waiting! Vinyl reissue of Clarksdale blues legend Wade Walton's classic Bluesville album, recorded in 1962 by legendary Rudy Van Gelder (who just two years later would record John Coltrane's epic "A Love Supreme").
Wade Walton played with Ike Turner's band in the 1940s. He's included in Paul Oliver's classic 1960 road-trip book, "Conversation with the Blues. He was known for taking breaks at the Clarksdale's Big Six Barbershop on Fourth Street (now MLK Dr.) mid haircut or shave to play some harmonica, guitar or razor strap for friends, fans and photographers. By the time I, my self, sat down for a haircut and some blues stories in the late 1990s, he was operating out of his own barbershop, a small white building with his name painted on the exterior, downtown on Issaquena Avenue.
I took off my glasses (and was therefore rendered blind as a bat), and he commenced to "clip clip clip" with his scissors. It took me a minute to realize that he was not cutting a single hair on my head. He commenced to telling stories of Ike and Tina, Muddy and others—all the while cutting around my hair. At one point, he handed me an old warped copy of his "Shake 'Em on Down" Bluesville record, pulled out from under a pile of memorabilia to the side of the barber chair. I couldn't really see it, of course. He told me the story of driving to New York with a buddy but without the money for hotel room. Following his mother's advice, he and his buddy slept in a cemetery—which his mother told him it was always a safe place to spend the night since no one went to graveyards at night.
Occasionally, he would punctuate a story by dusting the back of my neck with a soft brush full of talcum powder, as though my neck had been shaved. Then, he would return to not cutting with the "clip clip clip." After the clipping was deemed complete, I put my glasses back on, handed him a twenty, and no change came back. During the clipping, he had pointed several times at framed artifacts hanging on the wall facing the chair, to further illustrate his stories. Now, I walked up to each to see them. Among the items I recall, there was an 8x10 B&W glossy of Tina Turner with a sweet message dedicated to "Wade" and signed "Love, Tina." Maybe four feet to the left of that was an 8x10 B&W glossy of Clarksdale's Ike Turner. Ike's was signed: "What's love got to do with it? Not a g--damn thing! Ike Turner." — Roger Stolle (Cat Head)
Not sure if there will be another pressing of this reissue or not, so get it while it's hot, y'all!
top of page
bottom of page