Mississippi Delta culture and blues. A tour of Delta juke joints, complete with maps and photos.
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Junior's Juke Joint's very cool sign, 11k

Welcome to Junior's Juke Joint!

This is a non-profit organization. In fact, it's a money losing, hole in the wall, one man, one vehicle
organization. Created on July 27, 1997. Modified on August 27, 2006.

Exclusive! Click here for audio downloads from Eric Clapton's new Robert Johnson CD: Me & Mr Johnson

I'm a cultural anthropologist who lives in the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana side, and I spend lots of time in Delta juke joints. You're about to take a trip inside the places where the blues began. I'm not talking about white people blues bars filled with college students. I'm talking about edge-of-a-cotton-field juke joints filled with real Delta folks.

If you're in one of these places and you notice a tall white guy with a gray ponytail, that's probably me.   Buy me a beer for directing you to such an awesome place.

Here in Junior's Juke Joint you'll find pictures of, stories about, and even maps to Delta places the local chambers of commerce never heard of. (Heck, let's face facts: if the chambers knew about those places they'd want to shut them down.) The good folks at www.mapquest.com provided the maps. Click on the mapquest link for maps with a larger scale.

Here's why I selected these juke joints from the thousands of juke joints in the Delta:

One ball  I've visited them in daylight and in darkness, and they welcomed me.
Two ball  A blues band plays in them.
Three ball  And/or they're special for some reason.

Road Trip!

Roque's Blues Hall, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Page 2
Page 3  Twenty photos!

Bubba's, Melrose, Louisiana

ZZ's, Ferriday, Louisiana
Recent photos added!

The Meeting Place, Greenville, Mississippi   17 photos.

Disco 86 (Annie Mae's Cafe), Waterproof, Louisiana
Page 2  8 new and cool photos!

The Flowing Fountain, Greenville, Mississippi

G.G. Lounge, Winterville, Mississippi

Highway 61 sign   Studio 51, Durant, Mississippi  Elmore James played here!

W.D.'s Lounge, St. Joseph, Louisiana  Blues and buried treasure.

Gully's Alley Inn, Moorhead, Mississippi

B & B Quick Mart, Greenville, Mississippi   Contains Delta Blues Festival information.18 photos of Willie Foster's band. (500k.)

Boss Hall's, Leland, Mississippi
Page 2  24 cool photos!

The Walnut Street Bait Shop, Greenville, Mississippi  Blues and candied yams.

Little Blue's Caffa, Greenville, Mississippi

Without exception, the owners and customers of those places welcomed this redneck white boy.

Hey, Junior!  What's the difference between a juke joint and a honky tonk?

I'm glad you asked. Here's the main differences:

One ball  The race of the customers.
Two ball  The race of the girls in the beer posters.
Three ball  The predominant type of music on the jukebox.
Four ball  The price of beer.
Five ball  The amount of violence.

Honky tonk white folks wear nice clothes on Friday and Saturday nights, but juke joint black folks wear their Sunday best. The women wear amazingly colorful outfits, and gold and silver jewelry sparkles everywhere.

Few honky tonks have a kitchen; although 20 years or so ago most of them did. Today, almost every juke joint has a kitchen. Honky tonk customers have cars. They can stop at a late night fast food place on the way home. Many juke joint customers do not own cars and got there on their own two feet. To them, the juke joint is their late night fast food place. Often, it is also their daytime source of fast food.

In several years of visiting Delta juke joints, I've never witnessed a fight in any of them. As a comparison, in the same period of visiting honky tonks of my own culture, redneck, I've witnessed many fist fights--male/male, male/female, female/female--a knife fight and an actual old west style shootout.   Bullet hole Click here to read about the shootout.Bullet hole

Bullet hole

In my opinion, a white person is much safer inside a juke joint than a honky tonk. But the opposite is far from true. If I were black, I wouldn't step inside a honky tonk on a Saturday night for $1,000,000.

Hey, Junior!  Compare the jukeboxes.

The jukeboxes in most juke joints will contain a country CD or two, usually by Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks, Hank Williams, Sr., and even George Jones. The jukeboxes in redneck honky tonks will usually have a CD by B.B. King or Bobby Blue Bland. Every good honky tonk's CD jukebox contains The Best of Clarence Carter which contains, of course, "Stroking."

I stroke it to the north. I stroke it to the south. . . .

When it's getting close to closing time and the hormones start flowing, you'll see the redneck couples dancing down and dirty to another song on that Clarence Carter CD: "Love Me With a Feeling."

All you big-leg women, keep your dresses down. . . .

Imagine walking inside an edge-of-a-cotton field juke joint and there sits a CD jukebox. Imagine the music it contains. Makes me want to pitch my tent out back and stay a week or two.

I'm Hungry!

Click here and check out a recipe section like nothing you've seen before. Due to the magic of a digital camera, I take you on a photographic step-by-step tour through the process of cooking some great Southern/Delta food. On schedule for your culinary education we have both bar-b-qued ‘coon and baked ‘coon with sweet taters.

Did you say you're thinking about taking a trip through the Delta and you don't want to eat where the folks at the chamber of commerce eat? Well, stay tuned to Junior's Juke Joint. I'll tell you about places to eat where the peas started the day on the vine and the pie started the day as peaches.

Here's some of those places:

Festival!

In September of almost every year, I head to Greenville, Mississippi, for the Delta Blues Festival. It only lasts one day, but I hang around for a couple of weeks of juke joint visiting. I also spend some time beneath old bluesman T-Model Ford's shade tree while he sips moonshine whiskey and tells stories. Sometimes his wife, Stella, fires up the grill on some chicken and ribs. We pop the tops on some 16 oz Pabst Blue Ribbons and have a genuine blues blast. You can read all about it here in Junior's Juke Joint.

Heck, let's go there now!

 

Fiction
FeetYes, fiction. Click on the little man with the sign and check out a list of some of my fiction. I love to write stories about rednecks, y'all.

The idea for the story about Sallie Martin came from a grand Delta lady named Nellie Jackson. Until her untimely death a few years ago, Nellie ran the best little whorehouse in Natchez, Mississippi. Nellie's was a Natchez institution. In addition to her normal, ah, "items," of trade, she sold T-shirts. They had little footprints tracing a path across the front and letters that read: FOLLOW ME TO NELLIE'S.

If you couldn't find your way to Nellie's, all you had to do was ask anybody in Natchez for directions, including policemen. One time a friend of mine couldn't understand a policeman's directions, so the policeman said, "Hell, just follow me. I'll take you there."

Ain't the Delta a wonderful place?

I used to go by Nellie's not on "business" but just to visit with Nellie and her girls. I remember sitting at Nellie's dining table and having lunch with her and her girls. The meal was pork chops, turnip greens and cornbread, washed down with either buttermilk or sweet tea. After lunch, Nellie emerged from the kitchen with a blazing cake. It was the birthday of one of the girls.

Nellie's house still stands, although damaged by the fire that killed Nellie. It looks like a normal white frame house with a paved back yard. Check it out.

Side Trip!

Detour sign

Junior in the Movies!

JukeThat's right. I made a blues documentary with Yellow Cat Productions.

We took the cameras inside some Delta juke joints and also filmed the action on and around the Jukehouse Stage at the 19th Annual Delta Blues Festival. We named it JUKE.  It's wild. Click the link and check it out.

You can buy a copy online for $24.95. The only complaint we've had so far is that it's not 8 hours long.

Real Blues magazine named it The Blues Video of 1997.

That's a picture of T-Model Ford on the cover of JUKE.

Regular visitors to the Delta might recognize the house behind T-Model. It's located on the west side of Highway 61 a few miles north of Hollandale, Mississippi.

I love old T-Model. We took the picture of him inside the G.G. Lounge, a juke joint in Winterville, Mississippi. You can't see it in the picture, but down on the juke joint floor beside his left foot, there's a 1/2 pint gin bottle filled with Greenville, Mississippi, Hollow Stump brand moonshine whiskey.

Here's a Delta juke joint hint: If you're hanging around a Delta juke joint and you notice somebody sipping a clear liquid from a plastic milk jug, the liquid probably ain't water. Ask them for a sip; it's wonderful stuff.   But heed the words of an old song called White Lightnin'!

Bluespeople!

Watch this section for pictures and interviews of bluespeople and juke joint people. We'll visit some folks who know what it's like to pick cotton for a penny a pound. Those folks know the meaning of blues.

 

Books!

BooksClick on the books sign and look at some blues and Delta books you should either check out of your local library or purchase for your home library.

   Wha'cha reading today, Junior?

Music!

MusicClick on the little lady holding the CD sign and go to a list of every CD I talk about here in the juke joint and a couple I don't.

Wha'cha listening to today, Junior?

If you've been thinking about buying a CD by any artist or a video or a book by any author, click to Amazon.com and CD Universe via the above links. The Juke Joint makes a tiny commission which helps buy gas for the Bluesmobile.

Anthropology!

Juke Joint is really ethnography, i.e., people writing. I'm a cultural anthropologist, so you'll see some anthropology stuff here in the Juke Joint that isn't related to juke joints and blues. (But isn't almost everything related to either juke joints or blues?)

On August 2, 2002, the The Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives, named this virtual juke joint "Most Entertaining Online Ethnography."

I am deeply honored. Thank you, Smithsonian.

The WWW VIRTUAL LIBRARY named this virtual juke joint an Anthropology Site Of The Week. We're extremely honored. Thank y'all.YAHOO! named this virtual juke joint a YAHOO! Pick Of The Week for the week of May 1, 2000. Yahoooooooo!
USATODAY.COM named this a Hot Site for May 30, 2000. How cool can you get?CNNdotCOM   featured this site! Check out the juke joint video from Roque's, ZZ's, and the Disco 86. You can also download songs by Y.Z. Ealey and by Roque's Blues Band.The BBC WebGuide named this site "The Music Site Of The Week" on March 26, 2001. God save the queen!
In January 2003 the British magazine Webactive gave this web site a "Click It" award and 5 stars. They said, "A musical road trip meets cultural anthropology in a uniquely online format. A rare gem of a site for music lovers."

We say, Thanks!"

 

Here's my experiences as an observer at a Druid wedding.


Check out my impressions of Sunday services at a tiny, African-American Baptist church located in the Delta backwoods.  The experience was like listening to God sing blues, or, rather, people singing blues for God.


Interested in Louisiana archaeology and anthropology?   Click here.
CheapWe've all seen homeless people holding up a sign reading WILL WORK FOR FOOD. I spent a week with a group of those people. Read about it here for a different perspective on homelessness.


Click here and read about my first encounter with a homeless person.

This is a nostalgic look at Junior's childhood and hometown of Tullos, Louisiana. You'll learn a lot about the bootlegger business. But the main thing you'll learn is Why Junior Loves The Blues.

Email me at   

Be aware that due to the large volume of email I receive, I may not answer. But maybe you'll catch me on a slow day. Read the FAQ's before you email me.

Let me know if there's something you'd like added to the juke joint.  Is there an aspect of Delta juke joints or Delta culture you'd like to see explored?

Friends Of The Bluesmobile

Barroom Tales
Updated 8/27/06

Bio info on Junior

Juke joint stuff for sale

A poem from Junior

Poems from visitors
Updated 1/19/02

Junior's Cool Links
Cleaned 7-30-10

Deep Thoughts
Updated 6/02/04

Want to learn how to write?   Click here.

Think you know roots music? Click here for a blues quiz and some blues crossword puzzles!

Want to help keep the Bluesmobile rolling?   Click here.

Posters
Robert Johnson
24in x 36in
$7.99
Click Robert's guitar and check out a page of cool posters from Junior and from Allposters.com.
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Copyright 1997 by John L. Doughty, Jr.