Page 3 - Land of Legends
P. 3

The Blues have been the underlying soundtrack of Southeast Arkansas since enslaved people became a part of the southern agrarian culture, long before the musical genre got its name. Although many strains of the Blues have developed over the past 100 years, they all have their roots in the Mississippi Delta. Jefferson County is the origin of many influential blues artists, includ- ing “Big Bill” Broonzy, CeDell Davis, Larry “Totsy” Davis, and Grammy winner, Bobby Rush (pictured below and on the cover). Born Emmett Ellis, Jr. on November 10, 1933 in Homer, Louisiana, he was the son of a pastor. Around 1947, Emmett moved with his family to Pine Bluff, where his father took a pastorate. As a teen, Rush became friends with blues legends such as Elmore James, Boyd Gilmore and Johnny “Big Moose” Walker, and they formed a band. Legally too young to play in local juke joints, Rush avoided detection by wearing a fake mustache. Rush’s family and career took him to Chicago and beyond, and was even the first blues artist to play in China. Bobby Rush is still regarded as Pine Bluff’s “favorite son” and returns to Pine Bluff occa- sionally for special engagements. 4 

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