Some people refer to this, “Backed by the river, fronted by the grave” local icon as Red’s Blues Club; I think of it as one of the last juke joints. But if you visit it some evening when both locals and visitors alike are enjoying real blues talent, you may agree with Roger Stolle’s description of it being irascible owner, Red Paden’s living room. It’s a couple blocks away from Morgan Freeman’s, GROUND ZERO BLUES CLUB, but it’s closer to the heart of down home live music, drink, and sometimes, food!! On the street in front, close friends of Red: Antonio, Big Charles, and Dr. Dingo, often cook up BBQ items not to be missed. They also trade off duties inside, helping with bar or performers’ equipment set-ups. Basically, this place is run like a family business, everyone pitching in to create magical evenings!When I am in town, I try to hit Red’s as often as I can…but some marathon evenings can leave me recuperating for a couple days. I often arrive near closing mainly to hang with the boys after hours: Photo of us at nearby dive bar!!
Many of the true, authentic blues artists have performed here, and passed on, such as T-Model Ford, and Robert ‘Wolfman’ Belfour, who died this past February. But of all the locals that perform here, the rising star has got to be KINGFISH. I have known Christone ‘KINGFISH’ Ingram since he was 12 years old, and already a phenom. At 16, now, he is becoming known to the world, opening for veterans like Buddy Guy, and being invited to festivals all over, and ultimately, performing at THE WHITE HOUSE!! There are a couple more very talented young musicians working their way up also, because Clarksdale is the breeding ground for blues musicians with so many venues inside and outside to perform.
Shown, are various photos taken over the years of fun in the lounge and hanging with Red. One of my fave local performers, Big ‘A’- Anthony Sherrod, was someone I always love to watch because of his musical talent and his lively personality, but alas, he and Red have parted ways, so I will discuss his current venue in another post. But I still include photos of him here because this is where he developed much of his stage presence.
Speaking of stage presence, probably the most charismatic and versatile blues performer I have ever witnessed is Lucious Spiller, whom I call The Delta Jimi Hendrix…but even that moniker doesn’t do justice for this super-talent!!
Finally, 83 year old, Leo Bud Welch, from Bruce, MS, has been creating a rush of fan notice world-wide with his recent touring! My good friend, Dixie Street, has been his lovely and talented drummer, and we are treated to his performances locally including evenings at Red’s!!
“It is what it is!”
“The game’s for life!”
“There’s gonna be some shootin’ and cuttin’ up in here tonight!”
“I kill for fun!”
“It’s just proper procedure!”~Red