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Musician shares music with inmates in Chickasaw county

Reported by: Wayne Hereford
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Updated: 7/30/2013 11:08 pm
HOUSTON, Miss. (WTVA)--Perhaps there is no blues song more recognizable than B.B.King's "The Thrill is Gone."

It was the opening number played by Senatobia-born Mark Shannon Massey.

"Mark Shannon Massey. 92597."he said.

He goes under the name Mark "Muleman Massey" and that number is the one he wore while serving time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary known as Parchman.

"When I got incarcerated in Parchman prison in '91, I played football, I had everything kind of going my way.  And I slung a little dope.  I got caught up selling weed went down to Parchman prison," Massey continued.

But it was prison that Massey says gave him the start into singing the blues.

He was facing eighteen years on his term.

But got a break.

"I went to a trustee camp, the Parchman prison band.  A trustee named Willie Buchanan who was there working with inmates.  That's what changed my life around," he continued.

He auditioned and the rest is history.

He even met his blues hero B.B. King.

"One week later I was at Medgar Evers ball field playing with B.B. King, warming up for B.B., with a stripe on my leg couldn't get within 30 or 40 feet of him," Massey said.

He's been King's opening act at the Annual Indianola Blues Festival for the past two years.

On Tuesday Massey played for free for inmates at the Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility.

"Music changed my life.  That's all I can say.  And I think it could change someone else's life too," said the Senatobia native.

You might be wondering why the sheriff here in Chickasaw county wanted to entertain the inmates in the correction facility.

"When you treat these guys right, most of them is going to treat you right," said Chickasaw County Sheriff Jimmy Simmons.

Some of the Muleman's relatives came to hear him sing too.

"He got it from me and my momma," said his aunt Patricia Weeks of Noxapater.

And now,he is sharing it with every one else.

Massey says that he will appear in the upcoming Howlin' Wolf Blues Festival in West Point next month.

He says he has his own Blues trail marker that sits at the front gate of Parchman prison in Marks.
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