In a review of Highway 61 Resurfaced, the brilliant music writer Greil Marcus wrote: “A lost-tapes mystery — all blues mysteries are lost-tapes mysteries — but unlike the rest, this pays off with a climax so rich you want to hear the tapes as much as the people hunting them down.”
It all starts when Southern Belle Lollie Woolfolk sashays into Rick Shannon’s office at Rockin’ Vestigations in Vicksburg. She hires him to find the grandfather she never met, one-time blues producer Tucker Woolfolk. The day after Rick finds him, the old man is murdered. A couple of days later, Tucker Woolfolk’s former partner is killed too. Then Lollie Woolfolk disappears.
Things start to get weird when another woman claiming to be Lollie Woolfolk shows up and hires him to find out who killed the two men and why. Rick’s investigation turns up evidence pointing to the legendary Blind, Crippled, and Crazy sessions, a fabled blues recording date featuring Blind Buddy Cotton, Crippled Willie Jefferson, and Crazy Earl Tate. Blues scholars have been searching for these tapes for fifty years. But no one has ever killed for them. Until now.
Rick and Lollie soon find themselves looking back half a century to solve the case and it takes them up famed Highway 61 to places rich in the history of the blues.
A place where, for the past fifty years, certain people have worked very hard to keep the lid on some unsavory business. But when Pigfoot Morgan gets released from Parchman Farm half a century after going in, all hell breaks loose, threatening the fortunes of three old bluesmen and four generations of a Delta cotton dynasty.
Marilyn Stasio of the New York Times wrote: “Fitzhugh’s satire isn’t subtle, but it’s hilarious – and dead on. In sending Rick [Shannon] up and down the Delta in search of Blind Buddy Cotton, Crippled Willie Jefferson, Crazy Earl Tate and the missing tape of their collaboration. . . Fitzhugh treats us to a tragicomic tour of regional black-and-blues history. Fitzhugh, born and reared in Mississippi, has a belly full of feeling for the songs and legends of his Southern musical heritage. But where he really shows his artistry is in his richly comic, warmly affectionate character studies of battered old men with long experience in living – not just playing – the blues.”
The New York Times
My pal Carl Hiassen wrote: “Bill Fitzhugh is a deeply disturbed individual who uses his talents to write very funny novels, the latest being Highway 61 Resurfaced. You will seriously dig this book if you like classic rock, southern blues, clever mysteries, and cats with loathsome sinus infections.”