It’s 5:00 Somewhere

Welcome to the 5:00 Somewhere Cafe!

Come along today on a Black History Month peek at some Old South culture. Grab a drink, smoke ’em if ya got ’em, and let’s get tangled up in some historical blues.

We’re going to look at the legendary Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Mississippi, where the owner Jimmy “Duck” Holmes keeps it simple and authentic.

The cafe and juke joint has been on the Mississippi Blues Trail since 1948, where it was known for its blues and moonshine whiskey. Musicians don’t have a stage here, they simply play on the floor with the patrons.

Duck’s parents opened the place when he was a baby and Bentonia was a busy farming and lumber town. Duck’s mother served hot meals, including buffalo fish, soft drinks, and moonshine. The Cafe supported Duck’s family that included nine siblings and four cousins.

Of course, music seemed like a spontaneous addition, and so it was distinctively bluesy. Blues guitar and harmonica would either jam together or compete against one another, but it was all in fun.

By the time he was a teen, Duck’s mother would allow him to run the day-to-day business, and when his father died in 1970, he assumed the management.

In the segregation era, the Blue Front operated under a convoluted set of rules. A curfew of 10pm would be lifted during prime cotton picking and ginning season so it could remain open for 24 hours. The Blue Front could not serve Coca-Cola, however, nor could black customers purchase it or other items reserved for whites anywhere in Bentonia; African Americans were allowed only brands such as Nehi and Double Cola.

White customers regularly bought moonshine from its back door.

And after integration, the Blue Front boasted its own Coca-Cola sign.

So NewsViewers, grab your Coca-Cola, add your moonshine or simply some ice…….join the house party that celebrates African American culture of the Old South…….. and let’s raise our glass to some authentic true blues at 5:00. Cheers!

Nehemiah “Skip” James was Bentonia’s most renowned blues singer.  He played guitar and piano at the Blue Front during one of his periodic stays in Bentonia (1948-53).