Meet Me in the City of Clarksdale

Sean "Bad" Apple is back in town

Bluesberry Cafe owner Carol Crivaro with James Super Chikan Johnson

Bluesberry Cafe owner Carol Crivaro with James Super Chikan Johnson

By POOR WILLIAM

VIDEOS and PHOTOS

Clarksdale Mississippi is a bad mama jama: just as fine as she can be with live music 365 days a year! So, if folks want to hear authentic, live music with no two nights ever quite the same, then tell ‘em to meet me in the city! Clarksdale that is!

In “The Blues Brothers” movie, the honkytonk (and I do mean honky) that Jake and Elwood played in, had both kinds of music—Country and Western. Well, Clarksdale has all kinds of blues including Delta, Hill Country, Chicago, plus many other strains and beaucoup variations. We also have Americana, Country, R&B, Classic Rock, Singer/Songwriter, alternative tunes and plenty of stuff that ain’ got a lick of definition. This is why Clarksdale is a bad mama jama. I ain’ lyin’! Btw, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) blew a harp at Bluesberry Cafe a year ago.

We have live music at Hopson Commissary and Bluesberry Café on Monday nights; Hambone Gallery on Tuesday nights; Ground Zero Blues Club on Wednesday nights and Thursday nights; Stone Pony Pizza on Friday nights along with Ground Zero and Red’s Lounge; Red’s, Ground Zero and Hopson Commissary on Saturday nights; Red’s Lounge on Sunday nights; and the Shack Up Inn, Club 2000 and others often fill in on the above mentioned nights—it just ain’ scheduled. Organicity is our calling card. Check out Cat Head Blues and Folk Art’s weekly Sounds Around Town.

Sean “Bad” Apple, an incredibly talented hill country blues musician and Clarksdale in-and-out transplant, had a steady gig at Bluesberry Café for quite a spell. He had not played there in a while as he had moved to parts somewhat unknown—Sean is like the CIA, he is where he ain’t—but he made a return command performance last Monday night, and the Bluesberry regulars, buoyed by an accomplished cadre of local musicians turned out like it was the Last Waltz. A fine time was had by one and all in the city of Clarksdale.

Bluesberry Café is owned by Art and Carol Crivaro and managed by the couple and their dancing-machine daughter, Amanda. They open every Monday night so that folks from all over the world can listen to live blues when their traveling schedule puts them square in the birthplace of the blues on a Bible-belt kinda night. They don’t do this for the money, ‘cause there ain’t none; they do it because they love the blues, they love their regulars, and they enjoy having fun with people who sojourn to Clarksdale because there ain’ nothin’ like it anywhere else on Earth, maybe even the solar system.

Poor William, often prone to hyperbole, is fond of saying “such-and-such” is in his top five, but “Meet Me in the City” by Junior Kimbrough, magnifications aside, is his favorite song. Period. I also love the North Mississippi Allstars version with Lightnin’ Malcolm on bass.

Sean plays Junior’s songs with absolute perfection and joie de vivre, but I had never heard him do “Meet Me in the City!” I dropped $12 in the tip bucket and Sean said he would give it a whirl! I am tone deaf, but I gather from Sean and Magical Madge that it is not an easy song to play—must be chord progressions or some such musical term I know nothin’ about! Sean on guitar and vocals, Randy “Bones” Seppala on washboard, Art “Bongo” Crivaro on the bongos, and Iceman on the drums gave it a regal stab! Enjoy the video compilation in this post that Madge put together. It includes a short intro-clip of Junior’s son playing “Meet Me in the City” at the Mississippi Hill Country Picnic last summer near Holly Springs, birthplace of hill country blues.

Junior’s melancholy style of hill country blues haunts Poor William in the best of ways, but his lighter, hopeful “Meet Me in the City” immediately fills me with a need to move, groove, and shake my girth with life-imbuing mirth. I love hill country blues as defined by the musical styles of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and the still alive Lightnin’ Steve Malcolm, a personal friend. I just can’t get enough of it, but I sho can’t get enough of “Meet Me in the City!”

Meet me over in the city
And I see everything is so fine
We’ll get together now, Darling
Oh yeah, we will
We’ll make everything all right…

Well, now it’s time to say goodbye to Sean and all his friends
They would like to thank you folks for kindly dropping in
You’re all invited back next Monday to this locality
To have a heaping helping of Delta hospitality
Bluesberry Café, lots of regulars, tons of fun
Nice folks, Y’all come back now, ya hear?

VIDEOS
[youtube width=”600″ height=”400″]http://youtu.be/RNZPXROG2oc?list=UU8kMOworgfvPCphvskKJPFQ[/youtube]

[youtube width=”600″ height=”400″]http://youtu.be/rQMtZLsVldE?list=UU8kMOworgfvPCphvskKJPFQ[/youtube]

Monday nights in Clarksdale you will always find things hoppin’ at the Bluesberry Cafe, owned by Carol and Art Crivaro. It is always a happy place with plenty of smiles. Get a bite of homemade Italian food, listen to some tunes and dance if you feel like it. You never know what musicians might show up, too. This particular night featured locals! All the tourists in town end up here on Monday nights.

This particular night Sean “Bad” Apple was playing. Accompanying him on washboard was Randy “Bones” Seppala and on drums “ICEMAN.”
Others in the video include but are not limited to (in random order)
Art Crivaro – bongos (owner)
Carol Crivaro – tongs player (owner)
Andrian Kosky (Listen to his rhythm guitar during dancing segment. Fantastic.)
Carla Maxwell Kosky
Deak Harp
Bobbie Wilson – dancer
Steve Kolbus
William “Watermelon Slim” P. Homans
James “Super Chikan” Johnson
Amanda Crivaro – dancing couple
Sam – dancing couple and Stolle doppleganger
Julie Kuckuk
Bill – created of lsd…. not! 😉
Roger Stolle
Heather Williams
Paul Wilson – WROX owner
Mac Crank
Shelley Ricker
Cindy Power
Dave Power
Jeriah “Cactus” Stcyr
Dixie Street
Braxton Barton
Billy “Poor William” Howell
Magical Madge Marley Howell


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Comments

  1. Great night with our blues buddies Bad Apple, Slim, Chikan, etc., etc.! Thanks for the Delta Bohemian coverage of all things Clarksdale, y’all. (And thanks to the Bluesberrys for keeping Monday nights bluesin’ in the home of the Crossroads!)

    • Thank YOU Roger Stolle for continuing to Keep The Blues ALIVE via your Cat Head website, facebook, instagram, twitter, book, documentaries, and your festivals including the ever growing/popular Juke Joint Festival. Your loving on the MS Delta Blues is a blessing to us all!

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