Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Nesbit, MS
In fact, Callicott recorded only a handful of songs before World War II. On September 23, 1929 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN, Garfield Akers recorded “Cottonfield Blues—Part I” and “Cottonfield Blues—Part II” with Joe Callicott on second guitar. On September 25, 1929 in Memphis, TN; Joe Callicott sang and played guitar on Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues, but it was never issued. On February 20, 1930 in Memphis, TN, Joe Callicott sang and played guitar on Fare Thee Well Blues and Traveling Mama Blues. His records were advertised in such publications as the Chicago Daily Tribune, Nov 30, 1930.
“Although he probably realized only about $300” from the record company,” says Wardlow, “it meant instant acceptance. He was treated like the president of the United States.” According to Wardlow, Callicott was born in DeSoto County, grew up playing music as a teenager, and working in the fields and levee camps. Drawn to Memphis by record companies set up in the Peabody Hotel, he accompanied another musician initially rather than record solo. “He came back later and made a recording. He was a real solid guitar man; played Memphis style guitar,” Wardlow explained, in the same vein developed by Memphis songster Frank Stokes, who the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund also memorialized in June 2016 after Memphis author Robert Gordon contacted current MZMF director DeWayne Moore. A headstone now adorns the long unmarked grave of Stokes in the abandoned Hollywood Cemetery in Memphis.