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The Night was Short and Endless

May 5th, 2005 by Jeff Simmermon

Apologies for the copied content–it just works better here.

Anyone who has ever learned anything from a proudly misspent youth can tell you that some nights last for years. Each ten-minute increment s a massive .zip file of memories and lessons that the mind spends months unzipping and processing. If it so happens that the night works well asa s tory, the story grows and changes with each retelling, inching closer and closer towards legend status in the teller’s heart with each repetition.

Our last night in Clarksdale was just that sort of night. I’m going to try and sum up the night in words and photos, but I know I’m going to be disappointed…nobody can absorb second hand the sort of life-affirming excitement I got from being right in the thick of it, and I’m going to have to resort to the coda for all lame stories to fill in the cracks: you just had to be there.

Right before Natasha and I caught the School of Rock-style blues band (at Sarah’s Kitchen, proudly offering Food for the Body, Blues for the Soul,) we made a quick pass-through of yes, that Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club, where Super Chikan and the Cocks were giving their sweat-soaked all in front of what looked like a Sigma-Kappa reunion. Here’s the Chikan himself:



Super Chikan is well-worth checking out any night of the week, but the white-ball-hat vibe was seriously sickening me…

A barefoot man was standing on the streetcorner trying to hawk cds to any and all passersby. This being Clarksdale, he didn’t radiate the kind of vibe or fragrance that a barefoot street salesman here in DC would give off. We bought a CD and asked directions to Sarah’s (as mentioned before.) He totally quit the sales pitch, dropped everything and personally escorted us down the street and around the corner, asking where we were from, politely playing “guess-the-accent” with Natasha, dropped us off and said good night–then resumed business right out in the street.

After we quit Sarah’s, we checked out this one juke joint whose name I completely forget–I don’t need that joint’s name because it will forever be known as the place where my mind got blown and dented into a whole new shape.

Big T and his band were exploding all over the damn place when we went in, Big T howling into the microphone and then sprinting away from the stage (or stage portion of the floor as the case was) and soloing in front of a group of wildly appreciative women.

Here’s Big T:


And here’s an impressive solo:


Here’s one of the women he was wooing with his guitar and nimble teeth and tongue:


While Big T took a break, this guy got up onto the floor to sing…prerecorded keyboard music dripped from the speakers in a Southern Soul style, and the man sang his silky heart out. Big T’s lady friend really liked this singer:


More to come…

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