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Michael Loyd Young March 2, 2009

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Po Monkeys Juke Joint, Mississippi Delta

Michael Loyd Young (b.1955, USA)  has worked on worked on several projects traveling to 21 countries. His primary focus is documenting cultural symbols and the impact they have on daily life. His first book BLUES, BOOZE, & BBQ will be published and released by PowerHouse in the fall of 2009.  He is currently working on a second book project documenting the hunting and fishing culture of the gulf coast.

About the Photograph:

“The image is from a two year project that I just completed about the Mississippi Delta. There is not much in the Delta other than poverty and broken dreams. However, what is left is hope through music. The Delta is the origin of the blues which is the home of many blues legends such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and many others. Through my project I attempt to capture the hope rather than the poverty. Between April and September on any weekend take a road trip on HWY 61, the 160 miles from Memphis, TN down to Greenville, MS, and you will encounter an ongoing party. Blues music is the glue that binds these poor towns together. Whether it’s a blues festival, juke joint, picnic, or just hanging out on the front porch of a clap board house you will be welcomed as part of the family. This photograph was shot at “PO’ MONKEYS”, one of the original juke joints in the Delta. Willie Seaberry, the owner, has over a 100 suits. Willie may change suits as many as five times a night and has kept his tradition ongoing for nearly 50 years.”

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Comments»

1. Rosemary - March 2, 2009

I think that the “blues” is one of the most honest genres of music for me; probably because there is a universal truth in poverty and broken dreams.

I very much enjoy this photo of Willie Seaberry, and I love the bit about his suits. From observation the style of suit that he is wearing appears to be from a different decade, perhaps the 1970s or so. However, it looks to be in very good condition, thus, showing that he prides himself in his attire.

I love how the background appears to be busy with the lights and other people, yet in the foreground Willie is relaxed drinking a beer. To me this atmospheric contrast creates two photos- one being the background and the other the foreground.

I am a bit curious to see how this photo would look in black and white. However I appreciate the aesthetic of the light blue suit on Willie’s skin.

Nice photo!

Best Regards.

2. James - March 9, 2009

I’ve listened to the blues since I was a small boy. The raspy voices of Son House, the riffs of B.B. King and the Muddy Water used to play on my father’s old record player every night. When I saw this photo, all the memories started flowing through my head. This photograph evokes those particular emotions and imagery associated with the old blues players of yesteryear. I enjoy the blurriness of the background juxtaposed with the calmness of the subject and foreground. The subject’s eyes seem to be imbued with a knowing and sadness I find intriguing. With today’s economic crisis and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, music, especially the blues, are more important now than every in the delta.

3. Kurt - September 10, 2009

My wife and daughter just finished our own little “Roots of American music tour” starting in the Delta. (then memphis, nashville and Motown). We were lucky enough to meet Willy Seaberry at the Po’ Monkey lounge, and listen to blues by a master — Bill “howlin’ madd” perry — Blues as it should be. We have never felt so welcomed by strangers. As James said, you have captured the peace of the man — and the energy of his home, the music and the delta


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