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The Mississippi Delta has cultivated some of the most well-known and influential pioneers in blues music. Naturally, much of the nightlife in the area reflects the steely guitar chords, wailing harmonica riffs and soulful vocals that are unique to the genre.
Whether you are a die-hard music lover or just passing through the area, make plans to visit Poor Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold, Miss. Juke joints like Po’ Monkey’s (as the locals affectionately call the place) were once common in the Delta, but today, the lounge is one of the last remaining. It was established in its current location in 1963 by William “Po’ Monkey” Seaberry in a converted sharecropper’s cabin built in the 1920s. Mr. Seaberry still operates the lounge in the same cypress cabin with the corrugated tin roof. Po’ Monkeys is only open to the public on Thursday nights, and the clientele is made up of everyone from locals to world travelers and college students from the nearby university.
About 30 miles northeast of Merigold is Clarksdale, Miss., home of the Ground Zero Blues Club. The club was established in 2001 by Mississippi-bred, Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman and his business partner Bill Luckett. The club’s name is derived from Clarksdale’s reputation as being “ground zero” for the blues. By day, the club operates as a popular place for sandwiches, fried catfish, barbecue and tamales. However, from Wednesday through Saturday nights, patrons can enjoy live music from local musicians in addition to the occasional headliner.
If big name acts are what you are seeking, head about 45 minutes up US 49/61 to the northernmost corner of the Mississippi Delta to Tunica. As you cruise up the highway, the glittering lights of Tunica’s casinos rise up out of the fields like an oasis. Tunica’s nine casino resorts put it within the top 10 gaming destinations in the U.S. Some of the country’s biggest names in music and comedy regularly perform here, not to mention the 24-hour gaming and endless dining options presented around the town.