By Kathy Chouteau
The North & Greater Richmond Blues Foundation is welcoming local community members to come out Sat., May 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for “The Richmond Walk,” a free street block party and community video shoot on Chesley Avenue (between 5th & 6th Streets) in support of renaming a North Richmond street after “Richmond Blues Ambassador” Jimmy McCracklin.
According to foundation organizers, Saturday’s event will kick off with “the filming of participants as they walk along Chesley Avenue followed by a street party,” which will include crafts by local artisans, food vendors and live music by the “Blues Out Norf’ Jam Band” featuring local blues legends.
Other musicians lined up to perform include: Sue McCracklin & Friends (Jimmy McCracklin’s daughter); Michael Skinner & the Final Touch Band; Jesse James; Tia Carroll; Niecey Living Single; Alabama Mike; Mack Williams; Pam Saucer; Henry Oden; Ken Pruitt; Skip Hudson; Fillmore Slim; Ronnie Stewart; Margie Turner; Earnestine Barze, Nat Bolden and Foundation Executive Director and performer DeJeana Burkes.
Burkes told the Standard in a 2020 interview that during the 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s, North Richmond and Richmond played home to a vibrant blues scene—and that Jimmy McCracklin was an integral part of it.
Clubs like the Savoy, Kozy Club, Lone Star, Tapper’s Inn and Minnie Leu’s regularly hosted a long playlist of blues musicians like McCracklin, Lowell Fulson, T-Bone Walker, Sugar Pie DeSanto and more popular acts. Many of the musicians came in from around the country and joined together with existing Bay Area blues artists to create what is now known worldwide as the “West Coast Blues Sound,” per Burkes.