| By Rita Howell
and Ben Floyd
Daniel "Slick" Ballinger is trading the blues for gospel, he said this week when he phoned The Panolian from a rest stop in Oklahoma, on his way home from a gig at a Colorado blues festival.
The 21-year-old singer and recording artist, who came to Panola County from North Carolina several years ago to learn authentic blues, said he has felt a pull to devote his talent to gospel music exclusively, especially since he was recently baptized.
"I know He wants me to sing gospel," Ballinger said.
"I learned to sing in black churches. People used to tell me, ‘You’re going to be working for the Good Lord.’"
Ballinger still has contractual obligations to play concerts and blues festivals, but he has found that blues fans like to hear gospel, too.
"Most of the time they don’t mind me doing gospel," he said, noting that he had played all gospel at one of the Colorado venues.
"I feel like I’m doing more good, not just for myself," he said. "I’m more happy than I’ve ever been. I know it’s going to get better."
Ballinger said he is engaged to a young woman from his home state of North Carolina and they plan to wed in the next few months.
He still has concerts scheduled this summer in New York, Maine, Wisconsin, Missouri, and other places.
On Friday night, he’ll be performing a free gospel concert at New Life Church in Batesville. The church is located on Highway 6 East, across from Western Sizzlin. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.
Ballinger came to Panola County as a teenager to learn about the blues from musician Otha Turner and others in the Como area. Ballinger stayed with Turner for three months, and, after Turner’s death, decided to stay and make his home in North Mississippi.
Ballinger has performed concerts in places ranging from country stores, Como restaurants and Oxford clubs, to the Bahamas and Jamaica. He has shared the stage with blues legend B.B. King.
His first album, "Mississippi Soul," was released March 14 and contains mostly original songs.
| Poll workers for the June 6 Democratic Primary have been announced by Panola County Democratic Executive Committee Secretary Cheryl James by precincts as follows:
Anne W. Garrison, Brenda B. Gates, Earnestine Carter, Ester Lewers and Rebecca Floyd.
Martha T. Garrison, Franklin Bowden, Charlean Bowden and Georgia Callicutt.
Hal C. Johnson, Charles Blakely, Edna Miles, Sylvia Lantern and Mary Paula Webb.
Lucille Webb, Earlean Freeman, Joseph Wesley, Christeen Jones and Ella Jackson.
Annie Perry, Mattie Spears, Liddie Kimmons and Delorise Shaw.
Luella Wesley, Quanisha Clay, Mattie Sandridge, Rosie J. Perry and Naomi Pearson.
Rebecca Watson, Candace Armstrong, Deborah Armstrong, Damon Andrews and Dorothy Polk.
Betty Tillman, Vernice Avant, Frances Parks, Dorthy Ruffin and Lakisha Ruffin.
J.C. Bradley, Catherine Phipps, Frances Dye, Alberta Bradley and Mike Avant.
Macedonia / Concord:
Adriana Griffin, Arnetta Brown, Earnestine McCain, Christine Franklin and Leatha Bean.
Maxine Thaggard, William Parker Jr., Blandenia Burgess, Tammie Lamar and Teresa Thorton.
Rex Houston, Ben Benson, Margie Pearson,
Mary Sanford and Joe Pearson.
Linda Bean, Clara Olson, Lee Andrew Blackburn and Marian Kincaid.
Margaret Pope, Rebecca Pinkard, Jared Pope and Margaret Cosby.
Sandra Darby, Betty Hudson, Janie Snider and
East Batesville #4:
Pat Whitehorn, Frank Waycaster, Lorene Moore, Nell Baker and Clayton Johnson.
James Barnett, Perry Massey, Clara Henderson, Martha Hubbard and Dot Watson.
Hilda Wilson, Lonnie Ales, Alta M. Terry, Annie Ruth Copeland and Betty Kelly.
Bonnie Thornton, Wesley Peppers, James Webb and Betty Webb.
Martha Crestman, Lonnie Crestman, Donald Skipper, Mark Shuford and Gail Shuford.
Ricky Brown, Ann Womble, Cheryl Jackson, Barbara Smith and Mary Keating.
North Batesville A:
Barbara Broome, Janie Womble, Gloria Menzie, Annie Lou Curtis and Tonya Tutor Clay.
Doris Abson, Bennie Abson, Debra Roberson and Harold Houston.
North Batesville B:
Nina Kimble, Latara Lawson, Aslean Lawson, Deborah Lou Gardner and Willie B. Townsend.
Officers of the county Democratic executive committee, in addition to James, are
Dorothy Kerney-Wilbourn, president;
David Walker, vice president;
Polly Gordon, treasurer and
Robert Avant, parliamentarian.