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Author Topic: Violent Juke House Stories  (Read 628 times)

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Offline wreid75

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Violent Juke House Stories
« on: August 31, 2016, 09:17:12 PM »
Does anyone know of any good stories of Juke Joint/house parties that go terribly wrong, get violent, and what not?  I am doing research on this very topic and any stories that anyone can remember and especially sources will be greatly appreciated.  I know of Charley getting his throat slashed and of some poor bastard getting killed with an ax but the actual stories have eluded me.  I know some of our weenie brothers actually knew some of our beloved performers and might have some stories that have been told over the years.  I know that the house parties and Juke joints could be violent but I am hoping for details.  I will be so grateful for any info or feedback you can provide.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2016, 11:48:47 PM »
No I don't, but this once caught my eye:

https://www.amazon.com/Truly-Rotten-GIGS-HELL-Patricia/dp/1450041450

Looks relatively tame compared to being shot by a jealous boyfriend or some variation thereof.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 10:40:13 AM by Stuart »

Offline jphauser

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2016, 07:24:53 AM »
Does anyone know of any good stories of Juke Joint/house parties that go terribly wrong, get violent, and what not?  I am doing research on this very topic and any stories that anyone can remember and especially sources will be greatly appreciated.  I know of Charley getting his throat slashed and of some poor bastard getting killed with an ax but the actual stories have eluded me.  I know some of our weenie brothers actually knew some of our beloved performers and might have some stories that have been told over the years.  I know that the house parties and Juke joints could be violent but I am hoping for details.  I will be so grateful for any info or feedback you can provide.

It might be fruitful to check Zora Neale Hurston's book of folklore titled Mules and Men.  Besides the actual folklore, it covers her folklore gathering activities in Eatonville, FL and the Glades area of south Florida.   It's been a while since I've read it, but I do recall a violent incident or two that may have taken place in a juke joint.  I'm  not sure, but the book may be a blending of fact and fiction. 

I have done some research on "Stagolee" which has touched upon juke joints.   As part of that, I once wrote to Stetson Kennedy about the possible significance of the Stetson hat and he responded with a letter which included some details about the jukes in the Glades area of Florida, an area where black workers labored in the fields of sugarcane and other crops.  I believe he also pointed me to the work of Theodore Pratt who toured the jook joints there and wrote an article about the area and the sugarcane workers which upset the locals enough that there was (according to Pratt) some talk of lynching.  (This was years before the famous Edward R. Murrow documentary "Harvest of Shame.")   I remember reading Pratt describing seeing a jealous woman in a jook cut another woman's throat from ear to ear.  I believe it was in that article.  I've got a copy of it squirreled away and I could send you a scan of it once I locate it. 

I could also send you a copy of Kennedy's letter.  He said that the jukes were so violent that the local sheriff would tour them regularly and sometimes throw his Stetson on the juke floor and leave it behind.  It was implied that when he returned from his rounds to retrieve it that it should be in exactly the same place and condition.   Kennedy claimed that Pratt wrote a screenplay for a movie which contained a scene with a sheriff doing this, but I have never come across it.  Pratt was involved though in a Ronald Reagan movie taking place in the fictional Cat Tail, Florida titled Juke Girl with Ann Sheridan cast in the title role. 

There is a group of black painters known as the Highwaymen who sold their Florida landscape paintings from roadsides to tourists.  One of them, Alfred Hair, was shot and killed in a Fort Pierce, Florida jook.  Here's a link to an article

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2001-12-15/lifestyle/0112140445_1_florida-highwaymen-alfred-hair-harold-newton

I can send you a scan of the Pratt article once I locate it.  I'm tied up right now with work and entertaining my family visiting me from out of state. I can send you the Kennedy letter by this weekend though.

Jim Hauser



Offline Lignite

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2016, 07:48:15 AM »
John Jackson used to tell a story about a violent incident that happened in juke joint in which he was playing that caused him to stop performing in public for many years. Does anyone remember the specifics?

Offline Lastfirstface

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2016, 08:52:16 AM »
From the horse's mouth:


Offline jphauser

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2016, 01:32:43 PM »
Here is a link to a digital reproduction of Pratt's book Florida Roundabout in which he describes witnessing a woman cutting another woman's throat.  See page 7. Go there by clicking on the pages.

https://archive.org/details/floridaroundabou00prat


I believe the incident also appears in Pratt's article "Land of the Jook" published in the April 26, 1941 Saturday Evening Post.  Below is a link to a Boca Raton Historical Society publication which mentions the article and Pratt's claim that the article generated talk of lynching him.  It's on the lower right side of page 5.

http://www.bocahistory.org/_files/span_river/SRP%20Spring%201984.pdf

Jim


Offline Pan

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2016, 03:10:55 PM »
This thread reminded me of an old one, started by who else, but Bunker Hill.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=2584.msg19512#msg19512

Cheers,

Pan

Offline stunasty 55

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2016, 07:27:19 PM »
I've read Mance Lipscomb's book  "I Say Me For A Parable", where he goes into great long detail about juke joints and even an occasion where he took an ass whooping and ended up being tossed down a hill for being too drunk while playing guitar. And that was the last time he drank whiskey haha. Love that dude, great book with some good ass stories straight from his mouth.


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Offline tinpanallygurl

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Re: Violent Juke House Stories
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2016, 06:45:24 AM »
This might end up being more of an urban legend than reality.  The lack of responses from weenies tells me that this might be a smoke but little fire situation.  Since so many weenies here have written liner notes, books, articles, and actually knew some of these musicians the responses would be better if jukes were as dangerous as led to believe.  There might have been a hint of racism when discussing the danger levels of those parties by the community at large back then.  After all it was almost a hundred years ago, all of the performers are dead, and younger researchers who were given first hand accounts are quickly leaving this world.

Tags: John Jackson 
 


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