Friday, August 31, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Blues Edition

52-year-old Morris Cummings, better known as Blind Mississippi Morris, can play the harmonica like nobody's business. The talented musician, born in Clarksdale, Mississippi and blind since the age of four, has performed with B.B. King, Rufus Thomas and Muddy Waters.

Bluzharp Magazine calls Morris one of the 10 best harmonica players in the world.

He and his band, The Pocket Rockets, are favorites down on Beale Street.

For months now, Morris has been in a predicament. His home on Chelsea Avenue in North Memphis is nearly a hundred years old. It's so rundown that code enforcement says it's not safe for Morris and his family to live there.

Saturday morning, volunteers showed up on Morris' front lawn with an offer he couldn't believe.

For the next several hours, nearly three dozen people of all ages, braved the summer heat to give Morris' home a makeover....As the day went on, the volunteers made progress. The staircase was rebuilt. The air-conditioning and ventilation units repaired. Leaks in the roof were patched up....As hammers pounded away and saws buzzed through pieces of lumber, the sound of Delta blues played in the background as Morris played the harmonica.

"This clean-up is a dream come true," Morris said. "I tell you, it means I get to stay here. I'm not going to be homeless."

Morris hopes to one day install a recording studio in the old home. He says he'd like to teach music to the young people to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.

The work on his home is expected to take some more time to complete. And the volunteers say they'll be back again, until it's done.
(Full Story)

No comments: