|Saturday, 16 April 2005 16:00|
Yesterday on our drive to Clarksdale we drove south on Old Highway 61, past acres and acres of cotton fields and soy and rice farms, all being prepared for the spring season. We drove through small villages, which seemed to be decaying though there was evidence that at some point in time they did have thriving downtown businesses.
We arrived in Clarksdale and immediately were greeted with the sound of live blues music coming from a service station where we could see a band set up in the yard. As soon as we parked our car, up the street a different band was set up on a wagon in an alley. It seemed everywhere we turned, there was another band performing and it was evident we were in the heart of the "Delta Blues Country" and the Juke Joint Festival of Clarksdale was well under way. As it turned out, we parked in front of an art gallery/organic food restaurant, the Delta Eye where we went for lunch before checking out the rest of the music venues. The owner and chef, Veronica, was the most entertaining hostess/chef, originating from Florida and New Jersey. The food was an unexpected surprise in this little town, delicious and nutritious and the funky décor was very unlike any other place we have been in.
From there we wandered the streets from one venue to another enjoying the music and the people learning about some of the history of the area. When we weren't listening to music we poked through the booths at the vendors market as well as some of the local shops and stores and we watched a pig race. As the day became night, the entertainment continued at a variety of clubs and "Juke Joints" including the Ground Zero Blues Club, co-owned by Morgan Freeman. We enjoyed the sounds of artists with names like Big T and The Family, Super Chikan and The Fighting Cocks, and The Deep Cuts Blues Band featuring Razor Blade and Nail File! By the time we got home it was nearly 2:00 AM and we were exhausted from a long though extremely entertaining day.