Burying the blues: Grave marker project brings recognition to long-forgotten musicians - InfoNews

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Burying the blues: Grave marker project brings recognition to long-forgotten musicians

In this photo made Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, Aaron Pritchard wipes off a headstone after laying the marker on the previously unmarked grave of blues musician Aaron Sparks in Crestwood, Mo. Pritchard is part of the Killer Blues Headstone Project, a nonprofit effort to posthumously honor sometimes long-forgotten blues musicians with grave markers. The group has laid 22 headstones to date, with several more complete but awaiting placement. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
December 28, 2013 - 8:07 AM

ST. LOUIS - Blues guitarist Tommy Bankhead rubbed shoulders with some of the genre's royalty, from Howlin' Wolf and Elmore James to Albert King and Sonny Boy Williamson.

But visitors to the overgrown St. Louis cemetery where Bankhead was buried more than a decade ago would never know his musical legacy. Or his name.

Be it neglect, inattention or hard times, Bankhead's family never added a grave marker to his burial plot. That will soon change thanks to the Killer Blues Headstone Project, a non-profit effort to bring belated recognition to long-forgotten blues musicians.

The group has posthumously honoured musicians as far away as California, but its efforts are concentrated in the fertile blues corridor that stretches from the Mississippi Delta through St. Louis and north to Chicago and Michigan.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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