L.A. Times article on Red’s Juke Joint in Clarksdale

Posted on: Sunday, Apr 10, 2011






April 10th, 2011 at 09:25
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Some debate over on Blues-L.

Jef posted…..

Nice to get coverage, but…

Seems to me the author of this article needs to get a couple things
straight. Ground Zero is NOTHING like the House of Blues. The author
implies Bill Luckett was running for governor when Ground Zero opened
ten years ago. In reality, that’s very recent. Howard Stovall is
descended from the former owners of Stovall Plantation, where Muddy
Waters worked, lived and was discovered. (Two of Muddy’s recordings,
“Burr Clover Farm Blues” and “Burr Clover Blues,” paid tribute to
plantation owner Colonel William Howard Stovall [1895-1970] and his
crop.) Howard was exec director of The Blues Foundation for a few
years, but I don’t know anybody who considers him an “entertainment
bigshot.” Regardless, the phrase is used pejoratively. Morgan Freeman
is a local guy who made good. He not only helped fund Ground Zero,
but also opened Mididi, Clarksdale’s first “high end” restaurant.
(Though don’t ask for ice in your drink at the bar — they’ll charge
you an additional $1.50!)

It’s hard to conceive of Clarksdale’s recent renaissance occuring
without the existence of Ground Zero and those it attracts. You’ve
got to start somewhere. Thanks in part to Luckett, Freeman and
Stovall, people now come to Ground Zero from all over the world. They
come for a show and stay for the rest of the area’s attrractions,
including the Delta Blues Museum right across the street and the
Riverside down the road. And bunches of them wind up at Red’s.

The dismissive tone of lines like “ancient white hipsters” and
“sharecropper shacks with WiFi service” tells me somebody’s got an
attitude. It’s not your great-grandfather’s Clarksdale, dude. Muddy’s
cabin was hoisted on a flatbed by the House of Blues founder 15 years
ago and hauled around the country as a tourist attraction. That’s
more offensive to me than “refurbished sharecropper shacks with WiFi service.”