Sandwiched between a Baptist church and a police station in Water Valley, Mississippi, the otherwise nondescript office of Fat Possum Records has endured its share of hard luck over the years: Crippling debts and distribution nightmares once prompted the label to issue an embarrassing remix pairing best-selling artist R.L. Burnside with hip-hop knucklehead Kid Rock. But honest, undiluted Delta blues will be front and center during the imprint's Juke Joint Caravan, as headliner James "T-Model" Ford transforms the stage into a backwoods dance shack soaked to combustion point in corn liquor and heartache. The genuine article at 82, Ford not only has scars on his ankles from serving two years on a chain gang, but he's endured more than a human being should have to. Beaten so badly by his father with a piece of firewood that he lost a testicle, Ford also lost his first wife to the same bullying patriarch. Ouch! Joining Ford and longtime drummer Spam on this tour are Burnside's grandson, Cedric Burnside, and adopted son Kenny Brown. Rounding out the impressive bill of post-B.B. King modernists is welder/guitarist Paul "Wine" Jones -- allegedly knocked unconscious over a female with one blow by T-Model himself. Romantic squabbles aside, the Possum showcase promises a rough, raucous and raw gathering, all right. Lawdy!
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