During the years I had a commercial studio in Los Angeles the L.A. Free Press would publish a weekly list of music clubs located throughout L.A. I became curious about the clubs in South Central and Watts. One evening, in 1989, I took a copy of the Free Press and drove to the first address on the list. The building was vacant. I drove to the second. It was a parking lot. The third, fourth - same story. By midnight I gave up and headed home.
Traveling north on Central Avenue with my car windows rolled down, I heard music. I pulled over and parked. When I got to where the music came from there was a door in a brick storefront, next to a curtained window with one neon light that read "Miller's High Life." The unlit sign above the door read "Babe & Ricky's Inn."
I walked in. Everyone stopped to look. Not only was I a stranger, but the owner, Momma Laura, later told me that I was the first "white man" to walk into her club since she opened it in 1957. Eventually, I became friends with the musicians. They invited me to go with them to other clubs, some of them illegal, in abandoned building or behind junk yards, but none of them listed in the Free Press!
Even though some of these photos were taken in San Francisco and New York, I exhibit the series as L.A.:Blues.
Click on any thumbnail to show a full-size image and begin a slide show
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