on tour – the last day

Posted on: Tuesday, Oct 14, 2008

Sunday morning we slept in a little after a blues packed day the day before. After the usual free hotel breakfast we popped down to downtown Clarksdale where Roger Stolle, owner of the delta blues and folk art shop Cat Head, was running his annual Cat Head Mini Festival in the street outside the shop. We arrived about 10am just as Mississippi bluesman Robert Belfour was playing. The day was cloudier than previous days with a little wind and cooler at about 23 deg . This was a refreshing change after the intense October heat of the three festival days.

Today we all had insect bites from the night before. Somehow the insects can penetrate the thickest layers of repellant defenses and find the single vulnerable part. So much for the advice of the mad hippy moonshine woman who told us that one does not need protection at the Bizkit. I suppose that the mad hippy moonshine part should have given me a bigger clue.

Next we went to the Hopson plantation for Pinetop’s homecoming party.

This is a fantastic location on the plantation that was the former home of Pinetop Perkins where he used to drive a tractor.  The site is now a leisure site with the Plantation Hotel, you casn also rent shotgun shack apartments. I saw the inside of Pinetop’s old shack, now with added lean-to bathroom.  It’s a simple plank construction with metal roof. Imagine how hot in blistering Mississippi summer.

On the show, the fabulous Super Chikan playing his homemade jewel encrusted gas can guitar.  In the band were Bob Stroger, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith along with Bob Margolin.  There was also youngsters on piano and second guitar; I did not catch their names but they were great.  Chikan is the real deal, a great singer, performer and player.  He’s also got the best set of gold capped teeth that I have seen outside a rap star.

We also had a fabulous set of Chicago blues from Margolin along with R.J. Mischo and Stroger and the two unknown guys from before. Kenny Beedy-Eyes did not show in time, I think that he was off having BBQ or a beer so an unknown dep stood in. It was some Chicago blues at it’s best. Simple and strong with lots of room for all the band members.
In the old chapel juke joint I saw another killer set from Cedric Burnside and Malcolm.  There was a great sit in by Deak Harp who was familiar to me from his fine sets in the baking sun up the main street at the Bizkit during the festival weekend.

Also playing were The Hiser Brothers from Missouri, despite their young years at 18 and 19 on their fifth weekend at the Bizkit and Pinetop’s Homecoming and another killer set from Michael Burks – man can that cat play the blues.

Best teeshirt message award for…
The hot lady at the Main Bizkit Festival wearing…..

  • “my nipples get harder than your dick”

And the man at Hopson wearing

  • “Misery, Despair, Heatbreak and you can dance to it”

The last evening provided the first division. We all agreed that we were bluesed out and we passed on the late jam at Red’s Lounge in downtown Clarkdale. However the group was split over the choice of restaurant. Paul Farmer and I chose the Mexican with a drinks license. We had a bomb with a whole heap of other blues lovers and a handful of frozen margaritas. Some of the diners had a harp but they really could not play so I felt the need to show them that the English guy could. Luckily there was another great blower in there – David Berntson and we joined up for a few verses.

So that’s it.  The last day in the US. All that is left is a drive up to Memphis  Airport and a quick couple of hours in a mall. To summarise. Great time, great music, great food and great people. Highly recommended.

Come along in 2009.  Cheers!



October 14th, 2008 at 20:39
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Here is Deak Harp, blowing up a storm in the street . . .



October 18th, 2008 at 20:18
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Phew! I finally returned to normal today…..
I finally got over my jet lag – 10 hours in bed last night
I finally had a proper English beer – a few pints in Hoole last night
I finally got a good cup of coffee – today at Cafe Nero in Chester

I must have been bluesed out because I have not listened to any blues since I returned – really just hip hop and funk this week. Normal service will be returned soon as there are two great gigs in my area next week. The Cadillacs at Warrington and Rag Mama Rag at Worthenbury.