We were both very excited about listening to some live blues and after having sussed out the venues earlier in the day that excitement just grew! So off we went to start the evening at Ground Zero where we were introduced to fried green tomatoes and hot tamales, delicious.
The band wasn’t bad but at the same time wasn’t great either, but then one of the locals stepped up to “lend a hand”. He was carrying a homemade guitar consisting of a fuel jerry can and a guitar neck. Boy could he play, we found out later during our trip to the museum he was “Super Chicken” and as we went up to congratulate him on his performance he assured us he had held back and we should see him when he is really going for it!!!
We left to continue the night at Red’s and wow what a venue!!! It wasn’t full but the band, Anthony Sherrod (Big A) and the Cornlickers, were certainly pumping out some great blues so we sat down and enjoyed a great evening of blues.
The venue has been around for 40 odd years and Red himself has been there for most of this time he was quite the character and even gave us some of his home brewed corn liquor! After tasting we had the thought that maybe it was his liquor that was sending him blind, hence the glasses. Certainly an acquired taste, and thank goodness we can both still see!!
We had a walk around Clarksdale today to soak up a bit more of the atmosphere and I was also looking to buy a harmonica to learn how to play. Outside one of the shops were a couple of harmonicas on a stand so in we went.
Inside was quite surreal, as it wasn’t so much of a shop but more of someone’s living room/recording studio. The proprietor, Deak, told us that all he sold was harmonicas, result! But it does get better as it turns out he used to tour with James Cotton and learnt his harmonica playing off of him!! So I paid my money and got my harmonica and got a little intro lesson too, very very cool.
Clarksdale itself is a combination of bluesy museums, shops, juke joints and cafes. In and amongst this are a few other small businesses but there are a lot of abandoned buildings too. While the blues was a way out of cotton picking back in the day, nowadays there isn’t as much industry in town so while a few still follow the passion of the blues, a lot see it as a way to get out of town. T
Ground Zero in Clarksdale, only been around for 11 years but a great place to watch some music and have a beer, certainly well supported by both the local musicians and us tourists too.
Now Red’s Lounge looks like the sort of place to listen to the blues! What a superb venue, he served bottles of beer and we worked out that if you wanted to drink spirits you had to bring your own! All the artists we saw here were great!
Big A and his Cornlikers outside Red’s during a break in their set. Great music and great guys, Big A actually used to teach music at the local Blues Museum where they have a program for the local kids. They have about 20 kids who they teach, and the young guy, “Hollywood” was only 15 and a product of the system.
Friday night was a bit busier, and here is Kingfish doing his stuff, I reckon he played as well as Hendrix, complete with biting the strings during his solos. Will be cool if he makes it, certainly has the talent.
Deak in his harmonica “shop”
All the legends began in this area, and here is a picture of one of the latest getting his first lesson!
Some pictures of the streets around downtown Clarksdale, the ones above were all abandoned! Below just a few to try and give a sense as to what the town is like.