Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hot Tunes, Cold Winds in Clarksdale

I met up with my friend Randy, proprietor of the world-famous Ajax Diner in Oxford, on Jan. 23 for a night of revelry in Clarksdale.  We started the evening at the Uptown Motor Inn on 2nd Street. Clean, $50/night, and walking distance to Ground Zero, the Uptown Motor Inn is a great option for an overnight stay in Coahoma County.  Our friend Cleta joined us for dinner at Madidi, followed by the Oxford American Music Issue release party at Ground Zero.  We missed bluesman R.L. Boyce and Wiley & the Checkmates (their 2008 release, "We Call It Soul," is a hip shaking album perfect for late night dance parties), but we arrived just in time for Dale Hawkins, originator of "Susie Q"... baby I love you.... 

Later, we walked over to Red's, one of my favorite juke joints in Mississippi, to hear the dear "taildragger" T-Model Ford and his grandson (?), Stud, play a few tunes.

I'm not sure how old Stud is, but I'm guessing he is still in the single digits.  He keeps a good beat, but doesn't seem too interested in the crowd.  He watched infomercials on a television near the bar throughout the set. The kid is super-cute, and must be kind hearted and patient to play all these late-night gigs with a man eight-times his senior. T-Model seems to be doing well, although he is more frail each time I get to see him play.  

Our walk home that night to the Uptown Motor Inn was not near as pleasant as our early evening stroll through town.  The wind picked up and the sleet came down in icy sheets.  We stopped back by Ground Zero where the staff was closing shop, and a kind young man gave us a lift back to the hotel.  

This view of the Greyhound Bus station in Clarksdale is one I won't soon forget. 


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