Great River Road 32 - B.B. King Museum, Indianola, MS

MsBoyink and I paid extra for up-close seats to see B.B. King play in the early 1990s. You know - because he was “old” and who knew how long he’d be playing?

Turns out the answer was another 20 years at least. B.B.‘s music is in our home weekly if not daily.

B.B. King passed away in May of this year - so we felt compelled to swing through Indianola, MS and pay our respects at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.

Note: The B.B. King Museum kindly waived their admission fees for our visit.

Getting There

We were coming from Cleveland, MS. We put the Museum address into Google Maps and trusted it - the route was mostly smooth county highways through cotton fields. The way workers would watch us pass I assume RV’s aren’t a common sight.

The museum is a block or two off the town’s main street and was easy to find.

RV Parking

We saw tour buses sitting in the main museum parking lot but didn’t find the arrangement well-suited to our RV. The lot has just one inlet and isn’t large enough to swing around in.

We went around the block and returned to use the “visiting rockstar” parking right out in front. There’s room for a couple of RV’s end to end and no one seemed to mind.

A Fitting Tribute

We spent a couple of hours inside the museum - which has an initial movie in a large screen theater then smaller-screened video portions intermingled with displays.

We learned more detail about B.B.‘s life and connected the dots back to the King Biscuit Time radio show we sat through in Helena. The show aired at 12:15 - timed to coordinate with the lunch break of field workers in the south (B.B. included).

The overall vibe of the museum is classy yet low-key, which suits the personality of the man it honors.

The Gravesite

When B.B. died his funeral started in Memphis, then came to Indianola down nearby Highway 61 (the Blues Highway). B.B. was then laid to rest at this site. The formalities of the gravesite were still under construction during our visit.

No Photography

I don’t have a ton of photos for this post as photography inside the display portion of the museum are not allowed.

Some photos in the area where photography was allowed.

Some photos in the area where photography was allowed.

Feeling it.

Feeling it.

The guitar statue outside the museum.

The guitar statue outside the museum.

The sign going in.

The sign going in.

The Oddest Thing

The day was sunny and mild and we were getting a light lunch together before hitting the road again.

The museum has B.B.‘s music playing through outdoor speakers so while I listened I thought about his music.

And I realized something had been missing.

I hadn’t read about, heard, or saw reference to what I consider B.B’s signature song The Thrill is Gone.

That’s the song that when I hear someone else covering it I get a little miffed. It’s like Georgia for Ray Charles or At Last for Etta James. I don’t want to hear a cover, I don’t want to hear someone else doing it - if you want to play those songs play them by those artists.

It’s B.B.‘s song - but I didn’t hear it at the museum.

I wonder - was it too soon after his death to play it yet?

If You Loved B.B., Go

The museum is worth a stop if you - like us - are a fan of the man and his music.

Are You A Fan?

Are you a fan of B.B. King? Have you been to the museum?

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