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Coopwood: My Weekend at the Crossroads

Left to right, Jack Shelton, Grace Askew, Michael Fisher, Geoff Emerick, Scott Coopwood, Roger Fisher, Barry Bays, Jon Hornyak and Ray Callahan.
Left to right, Jack Shelton, Grace Askew, Michael Fisher, Geoff Emerick, Scott Coopwood, Roger Fisher, Barry Bays, Jon Hornyak and Ray Callahan.

Thought you all might like to see this. In the above photo, we are standing on the gravel crossroads in front of Dockery Plantation, a few miles east of Cleveland.

We often hear about the “crossroads” in blues songs. However, if one actually exists, this would be the place because this is the entry point where Robert Johnson and so many other up and coming blues artists passed over on their way to Dockery Plantation to see blues great Charley Patton play his guitar. Patton was the first, then Robert Johnson and the others came later. Pretty historic moment because of the people in this photo…

To the far left is Jack Shelton, an attorney in Memphis with Grace Askew, a rising artist from Memphis. Then on third from left is Michael Fisher, the co-founder of the rock band Heart and its manager the first ten years or so. Standing next to Fisher is Geoff Emerick, who recorded most of the Beatles’ records from Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, The White Album, you name it. Geoff continues to work with Paul McCartney and many other greats.

Then next to myself is Roger Fisher, a founding member of Heart and guitarist who brought us wonderful tunes on Heart’s hits: “Barracuda,” “Magic Man,” and “Crazy On You” among many others. Then there is Berry Bays, an instructor at the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University and a fellow musician as well. Then there is Jon Hornyak, the Grammy chapter head of this region from Memphis. And finally, my brother-in-law Ray Callahan.

Geoff Emerick loved Dockery. And it was special seeing him standing over Robert Johnson’s grave outside of Greenwood which was our next stop.

As Geoff was looking down at Robert’s grave in the pouring rain, I said, “If it wasn’t for him (Robert Johnson), the Beatles would have never existed and you wouldn’t have either.”

Laughing, Geoff responded, “And don’t I know that!”

Geoff is an outstanding person and he didn’t hesitate to answer the numerous questions about the Beatles the Fisher brothers and I asked him …. for two days!

Scott Coopwood is a seventh-generation Deltan who lives in Cleveland, Mississippi with his wife Cindy and their three children. Scott is the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine, one of the South’s leading lifestyle publications, the Delta Business Journal, the first business publication in the Mississippi Delta; and Cleveland’s weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Current.

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