For many years, Hill Country bluesman Junior Kimbrough had a juke joint in rural Marshall County that was a destination for those in the know. People from all over the world made their way to the spot, where blues continued “All Night Long”, as the song said. The juke moved a couple of times over the years, then burned to the ground, and never reopened. So when I heard that Junior’s son was opening a new juke called Junior’s Juke Joint #2 near Holly Springs, I was thrilled. The new juke is much closer to town than the old ones had been, just north of the Rust College campus along Highway 7. The bright blue building was already abuzz with activity when I arrived, and I saw a number of people that had just come from the blues concert on the square, just as I had. Little Joe Ayers performed first, and as he was on stage Shannon McNally and Garry Burnside came in. Shortly thereafter, Junior Kimbrough’s son Robert Kimbrough got on stage and performed several tunes, and then the man of the evening appears, the juke’s owner himself, David Kimbrough Jr. As he performs a number of the Hill Country blues standards, his dad’s as well as R. L. Burnside’s, the floor fills up with willing dancers. When I left at midnight, things were still going strong. Junior’s Juke Joint #2 will be a must-visit attraction in Holly Springs.
Robert Kimbrough is one of the many sons of the late legendary bluesman Junior Kimbrough, and a frequent performer at the Juke Joint Fest each year in Clarksdale. This year, he performed on the Cat Head stage in front of Roger Stolle’s Cat Head Delta Blues shop, and after his set posed for a picture with two of his brothers that are also musicians, Kent (a drummer) and David (a guitarist). Robert Kimbrough has also released a new album this year called It’s Your World.
Last Friday night, as David Kimbrough Jr struck up the first few notes of his first tune at The Cool Spot in Holly Springs, I realized something momentous was happening that ought to be preserved for the future, so I recorded the entire show with a recording app in my iPhone. Of course the recordings were made under less than optimum conditions, but I have used the editing software in Audacity to clean the tracks up as best I can. Enjoy this authentic Hill Country blues played by three of Junior Kimbrough’s sons, David, Robert and Kenny. David’s album Shell-Shocked can be purchased on iTunes here. Kenny also recorded an album under the name Kent Kimbrough on Hill Country Records, and that can also be purchased on iTunes here.
Only once before had I heard David Kimbrough Jr, at this year’s North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic, and at that event, he played the dulcimer with his drummer, but tonight, amongst his friends and relatives in Holly Springs, he played the Hill Country blues style for which his dad was justifiably famous. Backing him was his brother Robert Kimbrough on bass and his brother Kenny Kimbrough on drums, and the music, atmosphere and dancing must have been something like being at Junior’s old juke joint back in the day, except that everything had to end early because clubs are supposed to close at 2 AM in Holly Springs. As it was, the crowd didn’t want to leave, and the club owner finally had to run everybody out at about 2:30 in the morning!
As is appropriate for a store with a name that references such a Hill Country blues great, there is a wonderful blues selection, both on used and new vinyl, as well as a small selection of blues CD’s, primarily those on the Fat Possum label, which has an interest in the store. There are also plenty of indie rock discs, and used vinyl of all genres, as well as a small book selection. It’s definitely worth a visit, but also worth pointing out that they close relatively early each day at 6 PM, so if you’re driving to it from out of town, keep that in mind.
Robert Kimbrough performing the title track of his new EP “Battlefield” at Cat Head Delta Blues during Juke Joint Fest 2013 in Clarksdale
Robert Kimbrough (son of legendary bluesman Junior Kimbrough) performs his song “Can I Smell You” from his new EP “Battlefield” at Cat Head in Clarksdale during the Juke Joint Fest 2013.
End of All Music is a cool, hip record store on North Lamar Boulevard in Oxford, Mississippi which opened in March. Its rather unusual name is actually taken from rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers’ quote about his friend and mentor Junior Kimbrough, whom Feathers said was “the beginning and end of all music.” Both Feathers and Kimbrough were from Marshall County, just north of Oxford, and the store meets a real need in a community as hip and arty as Oxford. As one might expect, there is plenty of blues, and all of the cool reissues from labels like Numero Group, Big Legal Mess, Fat Possum, Thompkins Square and Mississippi Records, as well as a fair selection of indie rock on CD. But the big prize at End of All Music is vinyl, both new and used. People wanting to make a pilgrimage there from Memphis or elsewhere (for the selection really is better than some big-city stores), should be aware that End of All Music is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and is open the rest of the week from 10AM to 6 PM. Follow them on Twitter @endofallmusic. Like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-End-of-All-Music/237258039697978. Or you can visit their website at http://theendofallmusic.com/. Enjoy!