Various Artists

Last of the Mississippi Jukes Soundtrack

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Film director Robert Mugge has been responsible for a number of documentaries chronicling indigenous American musical styles, notably Deep Blues (1991) and Gather at the River: A Bluegrass Celebration (1994). Last of the Mississippi Jukes, which had its first exposure on a premium cable movie channel and was released on DVD concurrently with this audio soundtrack CD, is closest to Deep Blues among his efforts, though it is more concerned with electric blues. Mugge took his cameras into the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, MS (a re-created juke joint established by the film star Morgan Freeman), and the Subway Lounge in Jackson, MS. There he captured a variety of lively performers who are heard here. Patrice Moncell, who gets two cuts, is a particular standout, turning in a bravura treatment of the blues standard "Stormy Monday" and a lengthy, salacious recitative called "Strokin'." Other standouts include Chris Thomas King's "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto," a shaggy-dog bootlegging story, and Greg "Fingers" Taylor's "Subway Swing," which details goings-on at the Subway Lounge. But the entire disc demonstrates that the blues are alive and well in the clubs of Mississippi.

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