Bluesberry Cafe Kicks Off Juke Joint Festival 2014

Magical Madge, Steve Kolbus, Art Crivaro, Watermelon Slim, the late Frank "Rat" Ratliff. Photo by DB ©2011

Magical Madge, Steve Kolbus, Art Crivaro, Watermelon Slim, the late Frank “Rat” Ratliff. Photo by DB ©2011

By BILLY “POOR WILLIAM” HOWELL

(CLARKSDALE, Mississippi) VIDEO IN POST

Monday night saw the official/unofficial advent of the world-renowned, 11th Juke Joint Festival 2014 in Clarksdale, Mississippi—heart of the Mississippi Delta and birthplace of the blues.

Bluesberry Café, bastion of live Monday night blues in Clarksdale, owned by Carol and Art “Bongo Daddy” Crivaro, had a packed crowd with folks from numerous countries, U.S. states, and of course, all us locals who just can’t help ourselves.

Preston Rumbaugh, local bass player, war historian, and Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art employee, began the evening playing guitar. The iconic, multi-lingual Watermelon Slim joined him in song and on harp while the crowd waited for the legendary, Hill Country bluesman Sean “Bad Apple” and his Monday night drummer, Iceman, both who were working on some Apple Pie in the parking lot, and I ain’ talking ‘bout pie. Knew then ‘twas gonna be a great evening of blues, laughter and ribaldry.[youtube]http://youtu.be/0nxXgCklWbY[/youtube]

Cat head owner Roger Stolle has aptly billed Juke Joint Fest as “half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta. It celebrates our past AND living history by presenting over 100 blues acts during the course of the weekend.”

A finer fair I have never attended. It is managed well by the principals, a host of caring volunteers, and the venues and vendors. It’s INSANE!!!

Please enjoy a few brief clips from last night’s kick-off and get ready to rumble, blues style! It ain’ just for the weekend any more! Juke Joint Festival 2014 started last night and it will end when Lightnin’ Malcolm and Red Paden say it ends — sometime late Sunday evening or Monday morning! pw

Local Artist Tommy Walton at Bluesberry Cafe in Clarksdale with his painting of Morrison

Local Artist Tommy Walton at Bluesberry Cafe in Clarksdale with his painting of Morrison

 

 

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