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The Slim Harpo Book Tour

 

This was the trip of a lifetime. Which was all thanks to my dad, the author and writer Martin Hawkins and a little known Blues artist by the name of Slim Harpo.

To promote my dad’s new book, Slim Harpo the Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge (available in all good bookshops and Amazon of course), LSU Press the books publishers arranged a tour of book signings and talks for my dad to attend and speak at across Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. It was a great way for my dad to share his experiences and research, into this largely unknown but important Blues musician, which took him a number of years to complete. In fact so little was known about Slim that Wikipedia has his birthday down as 11 January, it is in fact 11 February!

I feel very lucky to have tagged along on this tour with my dad. Not just because I got to spend two weeks with him but also because I got to photograph the real America in any way I saw fit. It really doesn’t get much better than following in the footsteps of many of the worlds great documentary photographers such as Steve McCurry; in photographing the amazing landscapes, architecture, music and of course people of the Deep South of America. New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Clarksdale and Memphis to name just a few of the places we visited along the way, all to the sound of The Blues and the legendary Slim.

Most people have visited the USA at some time in their lives, but they never visit “Real” America. The real America is much more than Disney, cheeseburgers and white teeth. It is full of intrigue, history and people with a story to tell; all who I might add have incredible manors. The people of Great Britain could learn a thing or two from these guys. Never once did anyone stop me taking a photo and when I was shooting street portraits in Memphis and Oxford, nobody ever said no.

 

We met some amazing people along the way, and I just wanted take a moment and say thank you to them all;

Thank you to William Gambler and his wonderful family, for all the support you have given my dad during the production of the book and for the best sweet potato pie in the world.

Erin Rolfs and everyone at LSU Press for putting on the tour, and of course publishing the book.

Ruth Laney for writing a great article about my dad in Country Roads magazine and for dinner.

Johnny Palazzotto for arranging for a band to sing Slim Harpo tunes at the book festival and for breakfast.

Everyone at Sun Studio. Particularly Jason Freeman, for a wonderful tour and Ples Hampton for the behind the scenes tour.

Jacky Bam Bam for interviewing my dad for his radio show and letting me take a portrait of him.

Shelley Ritter and team for spending time with us and showing us round the Delta Blues Museum.

Missy Couhig from at Conundrum Books for her excellent hospitality on a hot Sunday afternoon.

Tom and everyone at Octavia Books for an excellent evening, including wine.

Brett Boutwell professor of music at LSU, for lunch, and a great question and answer session.

 

So, I’m not going to prattle on any longer about the tour, which I could if anybody wants to listen. Instead I am just going to let my documentary photography do the talking with the help of some great music. The photofilm below is a personal story of that tour for my dad, and actually his present for his 67th birthday (which is today). It is just a mere glimpse into the thousands of photographs I took along the way. You will be seeing plenty more over the next few months I am sure of that. So pour yourself a glass of what you fancy, put your feet up and listen to some great music for the next ten minutes. If you like what you see please like and share.

I am available for commissions and special projects so please do get in touch if I can help document your business, project or even country, I’m open all ears.

Oh, and happy birthday dad, we are all very proud of you and the amazing work you have produced over the past four decades, I hope you enjoy the photofilm, I’m looking forward to our next American adventure!!

 

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