Down in the Delta with the Devil

Set deep in the delta at the crossroads of the blues and rock & roll, lives a little town called Clarksdale, Mississippi. Placed on the map as the home of the blues, it's in this little town that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in turn for his bluesy twang. Clarksdale is place of pilgrimage for lonely musicians and now foodies thanks to one Mr. Morgan Freeman and his Ground Zero Blues Club.

Mr. Freeman done sold his soul to da Debil. 


Keeping to the delta's aesthetics, Ground Zero has found home amongst the historically rickety wood & brick fronted shops in the heart of downtown. The porch outside invites you to lounge in hand-me-down chairs, sitting amongst the aroma of an outdoor grill, while the sound of the blues pours from the heavily scribed walls inside. 


Wildly eyeing the menu packed full of Mississippi fried goodness, I opted for the Fried Green Tomato Sammich*: a beautiful poe boy packed with monterey jack & shredded mozzarella that melted under cover of fried green maters and Ground Zero's infamously tangy spiced "Gitback" sauce - a sauce concocted from "an old recipe from mama," so we were told by our waitress, who also made note that, in Mississippi, all infamously tasty things are concocted from an old recipe from mama.

*Note to meat eaters: the dish also comes with smoked bacon…an ingredient that no doubt would make the sammich even more drool-worthy.  Big mmmm to smoked anything!


As pops, sis and I mopped up the last of the gitback sauce, our waitress strolled over, blues in her step, and popped an unordered dish of deep fried cheesecake bites and ice cream in the middle of our table - "Chef made a little extra, and I thought you'd love it. Compliments of the house" she sang in her delta twang. It was the greatest melody I'd ever heard.


In true jook joint fashion, the house band tore up the place with songs of loneliness, hard times and 'Evil Women' - a title which was dedicated towards the table where my sister and I innocently sat.


A harmonica clad mustachio later joined in with the band; serenading an Irish girl from the tables (who was on a delta blues pilgrimage), provoking couples to jive (which they did!) and coaxing drunken middle aged sorority girls to live their dreams of seducing the older gent (which they did! or tried…with my father. In turn meeting my evil eye). 

The open mic then saw Omar, a seventeen year old reincarnation of Robert Johnson - highly gifted with the blues, you could feel the music through his soul; eyes closed in quiet concentration, pulling faces one would only make whilst alone with a lover. The guitar his muse. 

Following suit, a beatnik California man took to the stage to play some "songs from his soul" as he quietly whispered into the mic - strum, strum, strum, "ohmmmmmmmmm" he played out.  "ohhhhmmmmmmmmmm". Cringingly embarrassed, I had my sister escort me to the loo during his set - where I stayed cry-laughing through a diabolical rendition of 'Stairway to Heaven'.

"There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold...Ohhhmmmmmmmm...."

Luckily, the house band took to the stage again. Pops, Uncle Johnny, sis and I settled down for a few more songs and then it was time to go home. 

One of the best night's of my life, we drove home under the light of a fiery red harvest moon. I believe we all had a touch of Rob Johnson's devil in us that night.


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