Southern Agenda

The Thrill Is Back

The late B. B. King loved performing at Club Ebony in his hometown of Indianola so much, he bought the place. When the longtime owner Mary Shepard retired in 2008, King stepped in to preserve the historic chitlin-circuit club that Ray Charles, James Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, and King himself frequented—then promptly donated it to his B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, two blocks from where his remains are now interred. The museum spearheaded a fundraising effort to repair and restore the deteriorating club, and this past summer reopened it with a performance by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. “When we had bands come through, it would really be jam-packed,” says Sue Evans, who was married to King from 1958 to 1966, and lived in the back of the club when her mother, Ruby Edwards, owned it in 1958. “Everybody wanted to have the tables and to dance. That was the only entertainment most people had.” Club Ebony’s full performance schedule will be available this fall.