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Catfish & Cotton: Driving Down the Blues Highway

Updated on November 28, 2015
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Luc & Marc Borms, the Blues Brothers from BelgiumBlue Front CafePlaying the Blues...On the road again...Dockery Farms
Luc & Marc Borms, the Blues Brothers from Belgium
Luc & Marc Borms, the Blues Brothers from Belgium | Source
Blue Front Cafe
Blue Front Cafe | Source
Playing the Blues...
Playing the Blues... | Source
On the road again...
On the road again... | Source
Dockery Farms
Dockery Farms | Source

Two Blues Brothers from Belgium on the Blue Highway

Two blues brothers from Belgium, Luc and Marc Borms, came across the Atlantic and half of the United States to visit the Mississippi Delta and write a guide book about it. Blues musicians themselves, they searched for answers to questions such as: "What makes the Delta a place of such musical distinction? What exactly turned the Delta into the birthplace of a musical genre that accurately reflects the human condition?"

Follow the Blues Brothers from Belgium on a pilgrimage that many blues music fans have made, along Highway 61 - the "Blue Highway" - and the mighty Mississippi, to the heart of the Delta... and the heart of the blues. Countless bluesmen walked or hitchhiked here before them, African-Americans followed this road, searching for a better life in Detroit, Chicago or Saint Louis. It was here that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil, and it was here that Bessie Smith died...

A roadbook for travelling the Mississippi Delta

European audiences know and appreciate greatly contemporary blues and jazz music. They want to learn more about the roots of modern rock and pop, and although there you can find much information on the web, it's not that obvious for an European to get the overall story. It's not easy to visit the Delta and there is little literature explaining its culture. That's why the Borms brothers thought a good road book and some sort of a roadmap for visiting the Delta would fill in an important nead. The book gives information about locations, the music and the musicians, but most of all: about the living blues people in Mississippi.

Catfish & Cotton tells the story of the blues and the people of the Delta.

Weekly jam at Hal&Mal's, Jackson MS, called 'Blue Monday' and hosted by the Central Mississippi Blues Society.

Luc Borms & TJ Clay, Hopson plantation, Clarcksdale MS

The authors of the book

Marc Borms is a photographer, graphic designer, historian of African-American culture... and blues and gospel piano player, for the last 15 years touring all over Europe with Baltimore based gospel singer Lea Gilmore.

Luc Borms is playing harp in European blues bands, and founder-president of a non profit organisation that promotes the blues-harmonica in Europe. He organizes workshops in harmonica, gives workshops to advanced players, and published a Do-It-Yourself instruction manual for harmonica-playing.

Eden Brent

Meeting and jamming with Eddie Cusic - Leland - Mississippi - June 2011 - Filmed during the Catfish & Cotton tour

Atlanta Airport, a blues encounter that wasn't planned...

From Catfish & Cotton: Robert Johnson

Early Years

  • Born on May 8, 1911 in Hazelhurst, MS
  • His name is Robert Spencer after his stepfather
  • As a teenager, he took the name of his natural father


  • Marries Virginia Travis in February


  • Virgina dies in childbirth
  • Meets blues musician Son House and is deeply affected by his style


  • Marries Calletta "Callie" Craft
  • His musical talent comes to fruition
  • Son House and Willie Brown are astounded by his development
  • Rumors begin about Johnson trading his soul to the devil in exchange for the guitar expertise


  • Goes to San Antonio where, in 5 days, he recorded his famous songs


  • Records, this time in Dallas


  • Plays his last gig in a juke named Three Forks
  • Dies August 16
  • Many rumors occur about Johnson's death: stabbing, poison, the devil catching up with him.

Robert Johnson: Me and the Devil Blues


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    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      Hello Gentlemen - some of my favorites - I'll list ten for now in no particular order:

      10. Sister Rosetta Tharpe

      9. Slim Harpo

      8. Howling Wolf

      7. Son House

      6. Rev. Gary Davis

      5. Skip James

      4. Hound Dog Taylor

      3. R.L. Burnside

      2. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

      1. Buddy Guy

      this list could go on forever and always changes .....

    • profile image

      Marc B 5 years ago

      Thank you mr Epigramman for these kind words.

      Blues ain't nothing but a good man enjoying his music !

    • The Lost Dutchman profile image

      Patrick Bernauw 5 years ago from Flanders (Belgium)

      epigramman, there's much of the blues in your poetry too (some of them read like a talking blues!) - and I'm very, very pleased with your comment (the Borms Blues Brothers too, I'm sure... will send them your lines! - and hey, they're the real stars of this hub, aren't they?)

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      I just sent you some righteous fan mail.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ...well believe me this is indeed a honor and a thrill and a privilege to be the first to comment on this landmark and world class hub presentation as I listen to the blues everyday and this is not only an essential and definitive guide to the blues - it's about American history and culture and it's a true labor of love - and gentlemen I bow to both of you and thank you oh so much for what you have done here - this is one of the best hubs of all time - and this musicologist will post and link your awesome blues journey to a few Facebook groups but let's start with the Hubpages FB group and here I am sit listening to George Jones who can sing some blues of his own and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 10:40pm