Po’ Monkey’s Lounge – Merigold, Bolivar County, Mississippi
I last wrote about Po’ Monkey’s Lounge here when last I was in this part of the world in early Spring last year.
Earlier this evening I went out with Mark Bonta, my friend from the Delta State University here in Cleveland Mississippi to see if we could catch up again with the owner of Po’ Monkey’s Lounge, the esteemed Willie Seaberry.
Po’ Monkey’s is sometimes open on a Monday night, reputedly for matters of a more discreet nature than the popular Thursday evening R-n-B sessions so we thought we would get along early to catch Wllie (aka Po’ Monkey himself) before things got too busy.
It turns out that the big rainstorm that we drove through en-route to Po’ Monkey’s just a few miles down the road from Cleveland at the small town of Merigold had somewhat dampened the enthusiasm of both Willie and his clientele and the place was dark under a stormy dusk when we arrived.
Willie opened the door for us and invited us in for a beer, a chat and a few photos.
You can read a whole lot more about Po’ Monkey’s at this excellent piece by Dr Luther Brown, Director of the Delta Center for Culture & Learning at Delta State University here in Cleveland and more about the work of that Center at the website here.
Earlier this year Po’ Monkey’s was listed as one of the world’s best small music venues by The Guardian newspaper.
Dan Hipgrave, co-founder of the Original Music Company described his evening at Po’ Monkey’s like this:
A poster on the door warned: “Bring your liquor inside but not your beer.” The walls were cluttered with posters and age-old postcards, while toy monkeys swung from the rafters. It was low lit – smoky but inviting, with beer and whiskey flowing freely. Terry “Harmonica” Bean took to the tiny stage, elbow to elbow with the crowd, and delivered a mind-blowing, foot-stamping performance that will stay with me forever. Delicately soulful cries came from his ageing gruff voice, while stupendous bluegrass melodies oozed effortlessly from his antique steel guitar. This was raw blues at its authentic and spine-shivering best.
Meanwhile, here are a few pictures from earlier this evening that might just give you a bit of the flavour of the place: