Monday evening was night #2 of festivities at the 930
Blues Cafe to celebrate the release of Martin Scorsese’s 7
part Blues Series showing this week on PBS. The bookstore had pitched in
to bring Robert Gordon and Peter Guralnick, two highly regarded blues writers,
to sign and speak before everyone at 930 was invited to watch the show downstairs
or listen to music upstairs.
I was really impressed with the attendance for the signing. You never really
know how off-site events like that will go. Jackson is a fickle town when it
comes to attending events and between being the beginning of the week and there
being Monday Night Football on TV, you can’t predict how many are going to show
for something like a book signing in a blues bar. But a lot of people did, and
it was a great show of support for 930, the bookstore, and the Blues in general.
Before things got started I got sit out on the back deck and have a nice talk
with Suzi Altman, a
free lance photographer that works all over the country but is based here in
Jackson. I see her at all sorts of events around town, but hadn’t had a chance
to rap with her in a while and it was good to catch up.
The attendance was so good that it was way too crowded upstairs during Robert & Peter’s conversation portion of the evening, so Kay, Aven, and
I headed downstairs to the deck to listen over the PA. Monday was our first
dose of fall weather in Jackson and it was a fine evening for sitting outside.
We couldn’t hear what was going on upstairs that well but the guys setting up
for the radio call-in show out back had the Haley Barbour/Ronnie Musgrove gubernatorial
debate on, which was just as entertaining. Politics aside (and in my opinion
it’s a microcosm of the 2000 presidential campaign, each of them is so centrist
they both are saying the same thing) these are two of the funniest people to
hear debate serious issues. Ronnie, from North Mississippi has a nasal twang
that has you cringing until you’ve heard it for 5 minutes and gotten used to
it. Haley, from Yazoo City, sounds like he’s talking with a mouthful of bacon
grease. Sometimes there is so little inflection in his voice you’re not sure
what he’s saying.
Aven was hungry and ordered some ribs and since he ordered too many he was
nice enough to me let me finish off a few. I had not yet tried 930’s ribs and
they were excellent: a perfect balance between dry and juicy, with meat cooked
long enough to fall off the bone if you breathed on it too hard. Aven and I
had a nice, spirited discussion on the best way to cook doves. We have over
20 in Aven’s freezer from our dove hunt in the Delta during Labor Day and Aven’s
got all sorts of ways we want to cook them. One interesting piece of trivia
I learned is that Wish-Bone salad dressing is the de facto redneck meat tenderizer.
After we’d eaten Kay and Aven headed on home. Joe, Wendy, Adam, Erica, Kyle
and Thomas from the bookstore were all there and I joined them on the deck for
a bit before heading back upstairs to catch some music. Jackie Bell, whose style
and grace I’ve mentioned in previous posts was really on top of her game. Her
parents were in the crowd and she put on quite a show for them. It was a touching
sight to see her interact with her parents. Here was the Queen of 930 delivering
food and wine and trading hugs with her parents between sets. My camera batteries
had gone South and I’m still perturbed I missed some good pictures.
Allison and Jeremy showed up after a bit and Jeremy got his first dose of 930
and Jackie Bell all on one evening. After Jackie was done Stevie J and his band
took the stage. I’d never seen them play before and was really impressed with
them all, especially Stevie J. I have witnessed few people have as much fun
playing blues guitar as Stevie J does. He was smiling the whole time, and while
the icon of Mississippi Blues is a brooding, anguished, guitar player, it was
nice to see someone having so much fun playing the music he loves so much. I
had a quick moment to rap with T.C. Perkins, the photographer I met at 930 a
couple of weeks before. It was only 11 o’clock, but it had already been a long
day, and tomorrow morning was looming large so I headed to Aven’s to get some
So here’s to Jackson for another nice night on the town!
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