By Lee Hildebrand
Oakland-born blues singer E.C. Scott traveled all the way to Lincoln, Nebraska, six years ago to have a video made of “These Ain’t Yo Daddy’s Kind of Blues,” an original song from her fourth CD.
She paid for the production out of her own pocket. The idea was not to sell the video but to use it as a promotional tool to boost sales of the CD and attendance at her shows.
Much to Scott’s disappointment, she discovered that there was not one blues video television program in all of the USA. “I said to myself,” she recalls, “’If I’m in this need, there have to be others.”
Scott, a large woman with a friendly smile, began talking classes in directing, producing and camera operation at Midpeninsula Community Media Center in Palo Alto, and, in November 2006, launched “The Jook Joint” with business partner Greg Mitchell. The half-hour show, hosted by Scott and featuring videos by such performers as Carey Bell, Elvin Bishop, Bobby Bland, Etta James, B .B. King, Denise LaSalle, Charlie Musselwhite, Odetta and Koko Taylor, now airs on 247 community access stations across the U.S. and Canada. It can be viewed throughout the Bay Area on Comcast Channel 28 at 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 8 p.m. seven days a week. There’s a different show each day.
Record companies, as well as artists themselves, supply Scott with the videos. There are some, especially by Southern soul singers who specialize in sexually suggestive songs, which Scott says she is unable to air in their entirety.
“Carl Sims has a ‘booty girl’ in his video,” she explains. “It’s a nice video, but I can only show the first two minutes of it because she starts squatting. Some of that is too much for prime time. I’m on during prime time, and I don’t want to lose it.”
Scott tapes her introductions to the videos at the Palo Alto studio and edits the programs on a computer in the basement of her Union City hillside home. She’s wearing a T-shirt from Mississippi Valley Blues Festival adorned with a drawing of one of her heroines, the legendary blues singer-guitarist Memphis Minnie.
“The purpose of ‘The Jook Joint,’” Scott says, “is to promote today’s blues — the living artists who are out there in the field working — and at the same time honor those who paved the way for us. In almost every segment, we have an honoree, which is someone from the past. Memphis Minnie was one.”
Scott sang in the choir at St. John Missionary Baptist Church while growing up in Oakland. She began performing in nightclubs as a teenager but stopped for a period to raise her three children. She’s been back at it since 1991and last year spent six weeks touring Europe. She and her band will appear at 8 and 10 p.m. on Friday, January 22, at Biscuits & Blues, 401 Mason Street in San Francisco.
Send comments and story ideas to Lee Hildebrand at LeeHilde@aol.com.