Diary of a Bluesman

Juke Joint Festival 2018 was a success " Thank you "

 

 

  I left home about midday Thursday headed to the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, MS. As I was driving over the bridge in Decatur, AL I turned on the radio to listen to the weather forecast. It said a 50-50 chance of good weather so I hit highway 20, headed west toward Memphis, it's a straight shot from Decatur. By the time I got to the intersection of Hwy 72 at Muscle Shoals, AL I could feel the music.  I felt it was going to be a good day so I turned on my radio to some blues and got up to about 80 miles an hour and locked in the cruise control. When I got near Memphis; I took the bypass road 302 to Horn Lake, MS.  It doesn't take long to get to I-55 heading south; then I took the exit and drove south till I see the Tunica casino signs. Forty-five minutes later I was on Highway 61 South. This highway will take you straight into Clarksdale, MS.

 

  But I first took a detour over into Arkansas; crossing the Mighty Mississippi River to visit with my VIP MsBiscuithead and ask her to be my tour guide.  Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright and Carla Robinson will play before me on Juke Joint lineup. She was at the Delta Cultural Museum and agreed to let me tail her over to Clarksdale; so we gassed up and hit the road. It had been raining in Arkansas and Clarksdale when we arrived there was water standing on the streets in some places. The streets were still crowded with people and the rain was spotty.

 

  While walking around the festival I got a chance to see the monkeys riding the dogs, and a Petting Zoo (it was like a mini fair for the family). Then we came up on the Delta Blues Museum Main Stage next to the museum.  It's always a blast going into the museum, but didn't have the time so we walked on around back to the main street (Delta Ave.), where all the vendors were. There were a lot of musicians playing up and down the street.  I heard some fine blues music being played there and saw some really cool artist and folk artist.

 

  I’d like to thank Roger Stolle for allowing me to play the 2018 Juke Joint Festival and Carla Robinson for encouraging me to want to play this festival “she said it’s not about how much money you make, it’s a fun festival to be a part of.  She was right; it was “Big Fun”. This was the first time I’ve played the festival and I must say it is a granddaddy of all festivals of its kind. I thank Lil Biscuit and her sister-in-law (SNL Biscuit2), they drove in from Little Rock, AR; we had a blast. I played that Saturday at 2:00p.m., at the Cross Roads Heritage Center on Delta Ave. It was a nice big room with art on the walls. I played after   “Mookie“ Cartwright and Carla Robinson. They were a tough act to play behind; they had the house rocking. The soundman, was musician and artist Terry “Big T” Williams“, he was very helpful and professional. Not only that, he was tired from playing the night before. He said that he had played all night long the night before in front of a packed house. He was tired but the blues had to go on.

 

  I ran into Jeremy, like me a harmonica player. I met him last year; he was playing at the Helena Second Saturday Cherry Street Fair in Helena, AR (a summer event). He was playing with “Big T” Williams. I remember him from the very day he hooked up his mic. I love his style of playing. We shared a drink or two together just before my show started.  During set up for my show, my kick drum pad came apart inside, so I had to use the kick drum on stage. Big T quickly got me set right up and ran sound. Jeremy had never heard me play and said he enjoyed listening to me, I was honored. He handed me a pen and asked me to autograph his harp case. Then some folks in the audience came up to me wanting their photograph made with the AlabamaBluesMan.

 

  We were all socializing and lying and rubbing blues elbows when “BOOM” the power went out. So everyone was walking around gawking till the power came back on. The biscuit girls wound up going down through an alley. I asked them where they were going? they scream back; ”to the old Clarksdale Bank Building”.  So here we go over to this old bank to hear Iretta and Johnny B. Sanders. They always do a great Delta Style Blues show. It was really interesting this time because they didn't have electricity. All they had was a tambourine, hand clapping and foot stomping. It was Blues at its best, raw and uncut. The room was full of people waiting for the power to come back on. But no one noticed after a while. The couple gave the room its own power. I guess that’s why they call it the Juke Joint Festival. I’m already looking toward 2019 Juke Joint Festival, it’s a “half blues and half music” festival right in the heart of downtown Clarksdale, MS.

 

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