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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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