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King Snake Records, back-porch jams, memories of the chitlin’ circuit

How the small Central Florida city played a pivotal role in keeping blues music alive in the Sunshine State

Photo: Photos by Christopher Balogh, License: N/A

Photos by Christopher Balogh

Photo: , License: N/A

Doc Williamson runs a regular blues jam at the Alley – the last venue in Sanford dedicated to blues music

Maurice Fields II and his 18-year-old son, Maurice Fields III, play at the Alley at least three times a week.

“My son grew up with this music in our house, from records to Pandora,” Fields says. “He was self-taught on the bass and drums at an early age. It’s up to the young generations to keep blues alive.”

At these blues jams, father and son can play with each other and also with people whose names they don’t even know. On one recent night, it was Fields and his son, a 17-year-old saxophone player from Winter Park, a middle-aged guitarist, a Canadian harmonica player in his 60s and Williamson.

Didn’t matter that they’d all just met for the first time. Didn’t matter that they didn’t know every song note for note. The blues is there. The blues comes out.

This is Sanford’s last blues bar. It could be argued that it’s even Central Florida’s last real blues bar.

“The Alley is a place where blacks, whites, bikers, rednecks and everybody else can come together,” Fields says. “It’s not black and white, it’s just the blues.”

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