Grooving at the BBC

by: Kati Schardl, Cultural Expert

What do you do when a new friend from Spain wants to experience some real North Florida downhome culture?

Take her zydeco dancing at Bradfordville Blues Club, that’s what!

A word about Bradfordville Blues Club – it’s been a juke joint forever and was a staple on the Chitlin Circuit, a stop for all the blues and R&B musicians playing every little roadhouse from here to the Mississippi Delta and beyond. It’s not much to look at – a concrete block box situated beneath some impressive patriarch oaks dripping with Spanish moss. It’s adorned with strings of lights, there’s a perpetual bonfire burning outside, you can purchase some damned fine fried catfish if all the dancing works up an appetite, and you’ll meet a cross-section of Tallahassee folks who will become your best friends if you go more than once.

The night we went, we were glad we had made reservations – the joint was packed and jumpin’ as JB worked the squeezebox and the rest of band kept the zydeco rhythms hot and happening. 

As usual, it was a visual as well as an aural feast – there was the parade through the club led by rubboard virtuoso Keith McCraw, with ladies hoisting parasols and waving hankies, there was some inspired and wonderful zydeco two-steppin’, and there was a whole lotta photo-snappin’ goin’ on inside and outside the club.

It made me wonder why it had been so long since I had visited the BBC. The folks are so friendly, the music so good, the vibe so perfect – I will be back very soon, to catch some good ol’ gut-bucket blues and some hot contemporary blues and some tail-feather-shakin’ R&B and, yes, some more zydeco.

Y’all come on down – you may walk in a stranger, as Lucia did, but you will leave a fan and friend for life.


Kati Schardl, Cultural Expert & Author from Tallahassee Author:

Kati Schardl

Cultural Expert


Kati Schardl is the Features Editor for the Tallahassee Democrat. She’s a true North Florida native – born in Panama City and raised in Marianna. She came to Tallahassee to attend FSU and earned a social work degree before yielding to the scruffy allure of journalism and joining the staff of the Florida Flambeau. Her cultural credentials include a stint as backup singer for legendary local band Cold Water Army (now, alas, defunct) and founding membership in the SPACE arts collective in Railroad Square Art Park. After more than a decade of serving as office manager and chief research assistant/go-fer for the St. Petersburg Times capital bureau, Kati joined the staff of the Democrat as music writer and theater critic. In 2006, she was awarded an NEA Fellowship that enabled her to spend 10 days in Los Angeles seeing plays and attending writing workshops hosted by the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. Kati lives in Midtown West and loves its eclectic funkitude and its proximity to her favorite cultural hotspots.

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