Waking up with a man in yellow pants sleeping on your bar is not what I had envisioned when I came up with this brilliant idea. And just as that thought crossed my mind, Slim rolled off the bar, stood up straight and saluted as if this was an every day occurrence. "Next time. Stay righteous." And with that, he walked out the door and into the foggy bottom of Clarksdale, his yellow pants the last thing to be swallowed by the mist. Okay, that's not going to happen every morning for the next four months. But once is pretty cool. Where's the Advil and Listerine? I think a squirrel fell asleep in my mouth.
After a breakfast of six eggs, scrambled with bacon, feta and mushrooms, The Bearded Man knocked back several large glasses of orange juice and decided to face the day. Actually it was just after 3 PM when he finished breakfast, so facing the late afternoon may be more accurate. In any case, his plan was to head over to Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art to explore the collection of records, books and art, before hitting Ground Zero Blues Club over on Delta Avenue.
Cat Head is sort of like walking back in time to a record shop from the 50's or 60's. I say sort of because I'm not sure if this is a book store, record shop, art space or just somewhere to hang out and fall in love with the blues. You get the feeling that a quote from bluesman Lightin' Malcolm applies to this place, "“Some of it wasn't even in tune, but it was, like BETTER than in tune." This place is undoubtedly out of tune - And therein lies the beauty. As if following a divine calling, owner Roger Stolle left corporate America in 2002 and built this piece of blues paradise, "Blues as a genre isn’t dying. It’s the last of the true, honest-to-Muddy, Mississippi blues characters that I’m worried about." Trust me Roger, one of those characters slept on my bar last night.
Ground Zero Blues Club is like a roomier Red's Lounge without the sticky floor. Co-owned by some fella by the name of Morgan Freeman, the blues is always smokin, the joint is always jumpin and the food is spectacular. Tonight it's Bill Abel, playing his Mississippi River driftwood-necked cigar box, rasping about catfish and cotton. Influenced by Paul 'Wine' Jones, Abel was born and raised in the delta, a pure product of gospel co-mingling with the blues. As the old joke goes, just change the word Lord to Baby and you've changed a gospel tune into a great blues number. I tried it and it works every time. If you want to learn more about Abel and his music, go here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKaUqIx82Ec
Please note: Listening to the blues makes you want to drink. You need to drink. And so my promise of four drinks at each bar was rather easy this night. My first glass of Wild Turkey Reserve was accompanied by a plate of fried pickles. My second glass was paired with 6 BBQ wings, with some extra sauce on the side for dippin. Dinner was a grilled catfish BLT, with turnip greens and baked beans, followed by a brief nap, which I am sure no one noticed. One more glass of Wild Turkey and it was time to hit the hay. As I stumbled out the front door and shuffled to my luxury suite, I glanced back to make sure nobody in yellow pants was following me.