"Blues on the Bluff" concert carries on in late DJ's memory
WEVL's 20th Annual "Blues on the Bluff" concert Saturday was dedicated to the memory of beloved blues DJ Dee "Cap'n Pete" Henderson.
Henderson, a fixture on WEVL public radio for 26 years, emceed "Blues on the Bluff" since its beginnings in 1988. Saturday night in Downtown Memphis, blues musicians played for him.
Performers included The Bo-Keys, Robert "Wolfman" Belfour, and Blind Mississippi Morris & The Pocket Rockets.
72-year-old Henderson was found shot to death behind his Memphis home last Wednesday. Police have charged Henderson's live-in grandson, 30-year-old Cortez Thomas, with the murder. Investigators say Thomas shot his grandfather in the back as he worked in his yard.
WEVL Station Manager Judy Dorsey says Henderson would have wanted Saturday's station fundraiser to go on to help keep the blues alive, which was his life's mission.
"This is the first one without him coming on the stage saying, 'Y'all want to hear some blues?'," said Dorsey. "We're going to try to carry on."
Henderson's son, Eric Henderson, says tonight's concert would have made his father very happy.
"Smiling with that grin he had, he's looking down smiling, knowing we're going to carry his legacy on," said son Eric Henderson.
While the sun has set on Henderson's life, his fans say it hasn't set on his legacy of keeping the blues alive.
Filmmaker Craig Brewer is one of hundreds of music fans who has attended the blues festival for years.
Brewer wore a special tee-shirt of his own creation Saturday that read "Cap'n Pete". He wants the younger musicians he's currently working with on a project to learn about Henderson's legacy and love for the blues.
"You don't know what you have until it's taken away from you," said Brewer.
Dorsey says Cap'n Pete is irreplaceable. "There's no one in his peer group...they're gone. There will never be anyone like him again."
Funeral arrangements for Henderson are set for next weekend. The visitation will be Friday, July 25 from 3 - 6:30 p.m. at the Ford Funeral Home on South Parkway. Henderson's funeral will be Saturday, July 26 at noon at The Cathedral of God Holy Word Temple on Faxon Avenue.
WEVL invites the public to share thoughts and memories of Dee "Cap'n Pete" Henderson by clicking here.