There’s the slick-backed hair, the suits, and the kazoo. And you might be thinking ‘gimmick band’ but listen to Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three for a few days and you’ll understand that they are the real deal. Hands down, hands clapping, feet stomping, suspenders popping, this is good time music and their new album Middle Of Everywhere proves Pokey’s songwriting is well steeped in tradition and unique and that each member of the band is a bonafide instrumental wizard.
I’ve been fortunate to see Pokey and the band play several times in some of Mississippi’s finest barrooms and a few things always happen. People stare, then they high five their friends, people drink and they smile. But there’s one night when Pokey and the South City Three played that’ll be hard for me to forget. The band was on stage in my favorite bar and it was closing down in a few weeks. I was about to leave town so I decided my last night in there would be with Pokey behind the mike. A little blond girl I knew was behind the bar and an old friend who’d moved away was back for a visit. My friend was drinking Wild Turkey and Sprite and so I decided to follow suit. There’s a song on Middle Of Everywhere about this kind of evening. It’s called “Drinkin’ Whiskey Tonight” and you should hit play on the little button below and give it a spin while you read about what I decided to do with the rest of my Wild Turkey evening.
Maybe I was two drinks in, maybe it was more, but it doesn’t really matter because they were strong and I was having a good night. Pokey and the band were well warmed up and folks were hollering praises before, during, and after songs. They broke into an upbeat dance number and I turned to a friend of mine and asked her if she brought her camera. When she said no I looked her square in the eye and said “you’re gonna wish you did.” Then I grabbed an empty chair and made my way to the front of the floor.
There I twirled the chair, spun the chair, and caressed the chair. Old timers would have said we were really cutting a rug. Around about half way through the song I noticed a barstool and it seemed to be jealous so I stuck the chair aside and danced a few turns with the barstool. But we didn’t have the same chemistry on the dance floor so before long I was back with my chair. At the end of the song we thanked each other and went back to the Wild Turkey. Maybe I was dancing with a chair because too many women don’t want to dance. That’s sort of what the song “Mississippi Girl” is about. You should listen to that one also. Pokey Lafarge & The South City Three were so rad that night that six hours after they left the stage they made me nauseous.
Needless to say Middle Of Everywhere is Essential Listening and if you’re not convinced already listen to “Good Country Girls.”