Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Winston-Salem Blues: Captain Luke, Macavine Hayes, and Whistlin' Britches

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Winston-Salem Blues: Captain Luke, Macavine Hayes, and Whistlin' Britches

Article excerpt

Captain Luke, Macavine Hayes, Whistlin' Britches, and I settled down to a table in the small front room, lit by Christmas lights strung around the ceiling, R&B playing on the boombox. It was a Saturday morning in April, and the three elderly bluesmen had offered to show me around the drinkhouses of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A round of "chicken," or moonshine, was ordered, and Macavine and Whistlin' Britches were one-upping each other with insults and dirty jokes. Captain Luke played it cool in the comer, sipping a can of Natural Light and smoking a cigar. After his doctor had ordered him to give up the moonshine years ago, Luke made the switch to beer, which helped out with his hobby of fashioning ashtrays, lamps, and model-sized cars from old beer cans.

Captain Luke and Macavine have been friends for decades, playing gigs together in juke joints and drinkhouses around the North Carolina Piedmont: Luke singing in his deep baritone voice and Macavine playing a rough and tumble acoustic guitar. They met Haskel Thompson (nicknamed "Whistlin' Britches" by Captain Luke because of the way his pants swish together when he walks) a few years ago through the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit in Hillsborough, North Carolina, that helps pioneering southern musicians gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs. …

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