1-27-18 / 5-24-63
King Of The Slide Guitar
New Port Church
Holmes County, Mississippi
Inducted into the Rock ‘n' Roll Hall Of Fame in 1992, Elmore James now lies in the New Port Baptist Church Cemetery, beneath the dirt of his home county, Holmes County Mississippi.
Walk to the right of the church, and you can't miss Elmore James's big blue/black granite tombstone standing tall and proud in a sea of green grass and surrounded by white tombstones.
The inscription reads:
It's a beautiful tombstone, as you can see from this closeup of the brass bust attached to the front and showing a good likeness of Elmore and his guitar. Notice the slide on Elmore's left little finger.
There's no need to take flowers to Elmore James's grave. You can't see them in any of these photos, but the grave and the surrounding cemetery is literally covered with millions of tiny red, purple, pink, and white flowers of several species. Those tiny flowers were in full bloom on May 13, 1999. I'll bet that those tiny flower species evolved such short stems due to this well-maintained cemetery's frequent mowing. In other words, the ones that bloomed beneath the mower's blades survived to produce seeds. Biologists and botanists take note. Hey, if you get a grant to go study those flowers, take me as a guide, please. Holmes County is a cool place.
Here's a photo of the back of the slightly-tilted tombstone, the camera level and now pointed north. The inscription reads:
If you visit Elmore James's grave on a Sunday, the New Port Baptist Church holds Sunday School every Sunday morning and regular Sunday morning services on the 2nd Sunday of every month. To make sure about the schedule, visit Hooker's Restaurant in Lexington and ask Olivia Hooker, the owner. She's a member of the New Port Church.
I spent an hour in the solitude and beauty of the New Port Church Cemetery. It's a great place to spend eternity or have a picnic. Woods surround it on 3 sides and inside the cemetery on those same 3 sides, large oak trees provide shade. Everything about it reminded me of the cemetery where Huddie Ledbetter, Leadbelly, lies–the neat brick church, the surrounding woods, the well-maintained grounds, and above all else, the feeling of peace. It's like the air contains a narcotic. I sat on the ground in the shade of a tree, leaned my head back against its trunk and almost fell asleep. Now, I wonder about the dreams I might have dreamed.
The New Port Church Cemetery also contains the grave of Bluesman Lonnie Pitchford. It was unmarked during my May, 1999 visit. The photo on the right of Lonnie's tombstone was taken on June 30, 2002, by Roger Ingram of West, Mississippi.