WE JUKE UP iN HERE! A New DVD+CD Documentary On The State of the Clarksdale-area's Juke Joint Culture

All photos stolen from Lou Bopp

"If you don't want to die, don't be born. 
The game's for life" - Red Paden

We Juke Up In Here is a visually sexy film that documents an un-sexy subject: The demise of the live music-fueled southern American juke joint, and the struggles of juke  owners and musicians to keep the remaining institutions alive.

Now, I could go into a long history of juke joints and the sociological and cultural importance of their history dating back to emancipation, and how the juke is being replaced by soul-crushing casinos, DJs, and gaudy corporate flourescent-lit Juquejoint facsimiles. But you probably know or can imagine that

"I'm backed by the river, and I'm fronted by the grave. That's for damn sure." -Red Paden, owner of Red's Lounge, Clarksdale, MS

Gearshifter Youngblood. 
We Juke Up In Here was created by Jeff Konkel of Broke And Hungry Records and Roger Stolle of Clarksdale's Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art store, and thoughtfully shot by  cinematographers Damien Blaylock and Lou Bopp. This is the same team that worked on the award-winning M For MississippiIt's a visually striking film that confidently dips to either side of the line between art-film and straight-up documentary.  With We Juke Up In Here they achieve a smart balance of serious blues doc, sharp rural-moderne arthouse, and dudes-on-a-blues-roadtrip film. 

Red Paden
The story centers primarily on Red Paden, owner of Red's Lounge, as well as William "Po Monkey" Seaberry of Po' Monkey's Lounge, and juke owner/recording artist Jimmy "Duck" Holmes of The Blue Front Cafe and their challenge to stay alive as the music changes (all three joints are strictly blues- No Rap), and as their audience ages. Casinos offering free food, free drink, and cheap entertainment, have done the most damage. Juke owners just can't supply those amenities. But what they can give you is a hot dose of reality with a raw music soundtrack with out the artifice and faux flaw-free sheen of the casino trap house.
Big George Brock
The dvd package of  We Juke Up In Here is also accompanied by a CD soundtrack (recorded by Bill Abel out of his trusty ol' station wagon mobile recording unit) of tough, slanky present-day blues. The kind of rough-hewn blues you expect and trust to hear from Broke & Hungry Records. B & H has added three new (to me) artists to the soundtrack, and each of them is a knock-out. Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood, Anthony "Big A" Sherrod (whoa), and the seriously deadly Robert Lee "Lil' Poochie" Watson. These guys ain't kids. Where have they been?

Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
We Juke Up In Here shows beautifully that while juke joint blues might be beaten up by time, culture, technology, and the law...she ain't dead yet and rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated, even though to most radars it's at best a party popper. The blues and it's surrounding culture has a living, progressing history. There are still artists giving strong, vital performances and this documentary showcases that well. You might gotta dig a little to find blues like this, but isn't that what you miss about music? The discovery? From where I sit, it's an exciting time for this genre. There are more and more permutations of blues happening every day. From gutter punks and travelers playing punk-shaded olde timey to technoheads reimagining the blues into the future. That's growth and change. I'm thankful we have these four guys not only still finding a few quality players to help hype, but also spreading the sound of those artists around the globe. 

Will small-town and rural jukes eventually disappear? Probably. Google Juke Joint. They're already being replaced by faux jukes- shiny Disney funqified Made In China soulless and safe nostalgia kiosks that have as much in common with Po Monkey's as House Of Blues does. 

We Juke Up In Here is a keen sixty-three minute document of the blues culture and a history of what's left of the Delta region's once-thriving juke joint culture, the root source and incubator of boogie, soul and blues. Konkel, Stolle, Blaylock, and Bopp have made important works in We Juke Up In Here and M For Mississippi. They are documenting the true ground zero for what remains of the great olde weird American blues.

CD Set List:
Big A & The All Stars - We Juke Up In Here
Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood- Rabbit In A Log
Lil Poochie & Hezekiah Early - You Know I’ve Tried 
Dialogue: “I Don’t Have To Pretend” – Red Paden
Terry “Harmonica” Bean - Baby (Do Anything For Me)
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes -  Could’ve Been Married
Dialogue: “I’m Moving At My Own Pace” – Red Paden
Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early - Jug Of Wine
Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood - Get Rich And Marry You 
Big A & The All Stars - Call Me A Lover
Dialogue: “The Game Is For Life” - Red Paden
Lil Poochie & Hezekiah Early- Bring Your Fine Self Home 
Big George Brock - Down South 
Holmes, Bean & Vick - Someday (Get Over You) 
+Bonus hidden track:  Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood - "The Juke Joint Where I'm A Goin' "