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A Night At Red's Juke Joint In The Mississippi Delta Is A True Blues Experience

Red Paden in his juke joint in Clarksdale, Miss.
Elissa Nadworny
Red Paden in his juke joint in Clarksdale, Miss.

If you're in Clarksdale, Miss., home of the Delta blues, everybody says you have to go to Red's juke joint. The hole-in-the-wall club is the real deal. It's just a small room, a few tables and a fridge full of beer. Red lights are strung around a low ceiling. On the night we visit, octogenarian Leo "Bud" Welch plays in the center of the room, hunched over a sparkly, hot pink, electric guitar. Red Paden, the owner, sits out front, surveying from behind the bar.

"The blues is my heritage. I come up on that," says Paden. "Blues is something to do with the trials and tribulations that you go through. And when you can get out there and sing about it, you know, it makes the day go by quicker."

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The "Our Land" series is produced by Elissa Nadworny.

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.