Grave marker project helps bury the blues

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Associated Press

Posted on December 29, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Updated Sunday, Dec 29 at 2:04 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — 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 nonprofit effort to bring belated recognition to long-forgotten blues musicians.

The group has posthumously honored 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.

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