PM Day Seven: Rat, Muddy Waters, Sam Cook, John Lee Hooker and John F. Kennedy

The Riverside Hotel is/was a place where blues musicians gathered.  The rooms are named after clients like Ike Turner – or John F. Kennedy, even though he was not a reknown blues man.  Some rooms still have the personal items of musicians who may be back.  And then there is the Betsy Smith room.  Before the building was a hotel, it was a hospital.  Betsy Smith died in “her” room after an automobile accident.  Rat keeps the room as a memorial to her.

Is this a hotel from the past?  Nope.  Anyone can stay.  The rooms, which are not large, have their own swamp coolers – necessary in the Delta heat.  Katrina checks the mattress in one room – is it as old as the pictures on the wall?  Nope, the mattresses are comfy.  The rooms don’t have private baths, but that is easily balanced by a space so steeped in rich history, down home music and tales about blues folks.

And Rat is a smooth talking man with a quick story to tell about each room, a wink and a kiss as the ladies go by.  If I go back to Clarksdale, I want to stay at the Riverside Hotel.  It’s a trip!

And the day ends with an hour and a half  drive to Memphis and Beale Street.  I want to check out Beale Street out with the young folk, but I crash after a dinner of ice cream from the lobby.  I have been so busy this trip, I haven’t even had time to keep a journal.  Beale Street tomorrow, sleep today!

Frank Ratcliff with our LaLa

ratcliff aug 25 2011

Checking the mattress

mattress Aug 25 2011

Bessie Smith’s room

Bessie Smith's room

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