THE ORIGIN OF JUKE JOINTS
Juke joint was the name given to informal gathering, gambling, drinking and dancing places, primarily for lower income people and mostly in the southeastern United States.
While local musicians played all types of music, the Blues was the stock-in-trade of many.
The stereotypical juke joint would be a shack at a rural intersection, with no electricity or running water.
They became commonplace between the World Wars and, while few remain today, they do still exist (check out the link to The Blue Front Cafe and Po' Monkey's below)
The origins of juke joints were most likely the Community Rooms set up on many Southern plantations as 'hangouts' for slaves who weren't able to leave the premises to socialize elsewhere.
As the plantation system broke down, small time entrepreneurs stepped in and filled the need.
In the span between the World Wars, juke joints provided a place for people like Tommy Johnson, Son House, Robert Johnson and many others to sharpen the focus of Blues and grow it into a vibrant cultural icon.
While some juke joints of today are 'rose colored glasses' fantasies of a past that was far grittier, some still provide a nurturing starting place for the new generation of Blues artists.