Last of the Mississippi Jukes

This 2003 video documentary by Robert Mugge (Hellhounds on My Trail: The Afterlife of Robert Johnson) explores the demise of Mississippi's juke joints, the fly-by-night bars where poor blacks drowned their sorrows in liquor and live blues. Unfortunately the formula for saving these establishments seems to be turning them into House of Blues-style museums. The first part is like a promotional clip for Ground Zero, a manufactured juke joint in Clarksdale (owner Morgan Freeman, a Mississippi native, practically boasts that the decor was copied from photographic studies of vintage jukes). But Mugge's real focus is the Subway Lounge in Jackson, which was scheduled for demolition as part of the historic, black-owned Summers Hotel. There's loads of performance footage, of Alvin Youngblood Hart, Bobby Rush, George Jackson, Patrice Moncell, and others. 86 min.

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