Ralph Lembo receives Blues Trail Marker in Itta Bena
Jackson, Miss. (May 27, 2021) – Music promoter Ralph Lembo received a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail on Thursday in Itta Bena.
“Ralph Lembo left his mark on Itta Bena, the Delta and all of Mississippi with contributions to the music industry,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “He helped some of the most famous names in Blues get their start, so this marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail is a fitting tribute to his role in making Mississippi the Birthplace of America’s Music.”
“The Mississippi Blues Trail honors and memorializes the artists, historic sites and venues that proliferated Mississippi Blues throughout the world,” said Craig Ray, director of Visit Mississippi. “The trail also honors aggregators of our music who were the connectors of Mississippi’s rich artistic assets to the rest of the world. Ralph Lembo was an iconic man who, through his business prowess, took his furniture and music stores and blended connections with promotion to vastly spread the good news of the blues.”
Lembo (1897-1960) was a music dealer, promoter and talent scout who was a pioneer in providing recording opportunities for musicians in the Delta. Some of them include the Mississippi Sheiks, Rubin Lacy, Bukka White, Charley Patton and Sonny Boy Williamson.
Lembo was a Sicilian immigrant who became a prominent Itta Bena citizen with multiple business interests as a merchant and landowner. He owned stores in Itta Bena and operated others in Greenwood and surrounding communities.
The marker is located on Mississippi 7 between Humphreys and Front streets and is number 209 on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
Launched in 2006 by the Mississippi Blues Commission, the Mississippi Blues Trail commemorates the people, places and history of blues music, the American art form responsible for shaping modern popular music. For more information, visit msbluestrail.org.