Saturday, March 11, 2017

Henry Stuckey's Grave

The Grave of Henry Stuckey
Creator of the Bentonia Blues

Henry Stuckey, of Satartia, was playing a distinctive kind of music during the early 1900s that paved the way for a school known today as "Bentonia Blues." According to David Evans, a devotee of blues and professor of anthropology at California State University, the "Bentonia Blues" guitarists use mainly an open D minor tuning and an intricate picking style. The singing covers a wide range with a tendency to begin high, then "tumble" to a lower final pitch.

The military marker of Henry Stuckey at
Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Bentonia, Yazoo County, Mississippi
As these musicians traded ideas in the semi-isolated area of Bentonia, James and Owens perfected the style by adding dark, introspective lyrics. With his overwhelming personality coming through his recordings, James created a haunting and unique sound that continues to influence blues and folk music today. Though James died in 1969 and Owens in 1997, and Bud Spires in 2014, this local style is preserved in the playing of Jimmy "Duck" Holmes.