The Clarksdale Press Register

Producer and director Ted Reed from Massachusetts put together the film “Blues Trail Revisited” that came out in March.

“Blues Trail Revisited” consists of old footage from the film “Thinking Out Loud” in 1971 along with footage from the past couple of years in Clarksdale, Memphis, Tenn., and other places. The film came out in March.

Now, Reed is filming podcasts every couple of weeks in Clarksdale that are an extension of “Blues Trail Revisited.” The first podcast was filmed during the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale in April.

Reed was first interested in the blues when he was younger after listening to the Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and John Mayall.

“Listening to these British guys, I had no idea where this music was coming from. It wasn’t until I sort of looked at the label and it said Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and things like that,” Reed said. “I was like, ‘Who are these guys?’ By the time I got into college, I started looking into them.”

Reed attended Rochester Institute of Technology for a year and got a good technical background, transferred to Tufts University affiliated with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass., where he could have artistic guidance. He took and taught photography classes.

“A friend of mine who was also going to that art school (Tufts) was also into the blues, but in an even deeper way than me,” Reed said. 

In 1971, Reed drove through Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana with his friend to see what they could find.

“At the time, we passed through Clarksdale and there was nothing around,” Reed said.

The car had a Massachusetts license plate and Reed and his friend were stopped by officers every now and then. They explained they were looking for blues guys.

Reed said there was enough footage and information for the film “Thinking Out Loud” that ran for about 24 minutes. It was in black and white and went to a couple of student festivals.

Three years ago, Reed dug up the old film, packed up a camera and a bunch of other stuff and drove down same route trying to find traces of people he talked to in the past, but could not find much.

Reed heard something was happening in Clarksdale and Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art came up on the internet. He began to learn more about how Mississippi had changed through the years.

“I was astonished that tourism is second or third largest income generator in Mississippi after agriculture,” Reed said.