The road sign says it all - Clarksdale is considered birthplace of the blues - it was literally where many famous bluesmen were born and raised. The unique road sign above is at the crossroads of Highways 61 & 49, where legend says Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to be able to play as wonderfully as he did.
Clarksdale seems like a classic sleepy southern small town, much like you'd find in Iowa. The people are very friendly, but a little hard to understand to our Northern ears!
The main attraction here these days is the Ground Zero Blues Club, co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman, who's home is nearby in Charleston. Too bad he wasn't in town yesterday - they say he will probably show up next week. When he's in town he likes to eat at his upscale restaurant downtown (Madidi's) and then head over to the club down the street. Ground Zero, named because of Clarksdale's role as the hub of the blues, was designed to replicate the look of the old fashioned juke joint. Run-down, ripped furniture sitting out front, plywood floors. Nothing fancy anywhere, but the place oozed atmosphere.
Outside, before walking in, we made the acquaintance of "Puddin'", a slender, 77-year old black fellow who good-naturely hustled us out of a few bucks by showing us some amazing card tricks and some dice that seemed to change magically in the blink of an eye! You knew you were being hustled, but you didn't care - it was entertaining as hell. Then, when it was over, he took us inside and showed us where "his" table was (obviously he's a regular) and showed us different photographs on the wall where he appeared, obviously very proud of his status at Ground Zero ("I work for Mr. Freeman") he said.
We ended up eating our supper there as well - Dennie had a monster ribeye, cooked on the grill outside, that was melt-in-your-mouth tender, complete with a huge baked potato, etc. I had a pulled pork barbecue sandwich and fries, which was excellent. We even got a chance to check out a couple of other southern "delicacies" today - deep fried okra, and fried green tomatoes. Both very good!
Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry and his fellow musicians form the house band that played last night. They were very good also. However, last night's late bedtime caught up to us, and we started yawning around 11:30 and decided to call it a night. Had to stop at Burger King for Dennie - the steak and potato had already worn off and he needed a little more fuel before bedtime.
Here are pictures of today. CLICK HERE TO VIEW. Click the slideshow button once you get to the photo site, sit back, and enjoy the show.
By the way, Dennie brought along his harmonica and has been practicing. He's getting pretty damned good!