You see, just finding the Poor Monkey Lounge isn’t easy. I asked directions from an older gentleman wearing bib overalls and a straw hat as he walked down the shady side of First Street in tiny (pop 428), downtown Merigold, MS. “You ain’t from around here are you,” he responded, with a squint and just a bit of disdain. His face brightened slightly as he proceeded to give me directions. I got lost anyway.
Po’ Monkey’s sits on the edge of a cotton field, on a gravel farm road, just a few miles west of Merigold in Bolivar County. This is Mississippi Delta Blues Country and Po’ Monkey’s is a must stop for any blues aficionado traveling the Highway 61 Blues Trail. Originally a sharecropper’s house dating from the1920s, the Poor Monkey Lounge was opened in 1963 by Willie Seaberry. It is the only rural juke joint left in the Delta. You can count on Po’ Monkey’s to be open around 8:30 every Thursday with the music and dancing continuing until the wee hours of Friday morning. Many folks in the Delta believe the weekend starts then.
Sadly, Willie Seaberry passed away earlier this year and the fate of Po’ Monkey’s is anything but certain. But the blues will live on. That is certain.
Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen.