Scott Place takes the stage at the Cow Palace in Dade City and croons a bluesy tune on his harmonica.
“I’m going down to the station,” he sings, keeping time with his foot.
The local blues musician is better known as Howlin’ Buzz. His music echoes off the walls of this red building at the end of Bull Road.
It’s not the first time this building has heard the blues.
“We know for sure James Brown and we know BB King was here,” Scott said. “We know that between 1958 and 1975, everybody who’s anybody has played here as they were coming through the Chitlin’ Circuit.”
The Chitlin’ Circuit was a collection of music venues throughout the United States that welcomed black artists during times of segregation.
These places played host to the likes of BB King, James Brown and Muddy Waters.
As a blues musician, Scott felt a deep connection to this history and started the Chitlin’ Circuit Preservation Society to honor that.
Scott hopes to restore and revitalize all the venues along the Chitlin’ Circuit in Florida, but his venture started in Dade City, at a place once called Jake’s Lakeside Tavern – now called, the Cow Palace. Scott said modern music owes everything to the blues.
“Everything we do is rooted in blues and gospel,” he said. “I just think that’s very important to keep that alive.”
David Benson grew up near the venue and could remember hearing James Brown play, though he was too young to see it for himself.
“I was dancing at home, that’s the closest I could get to the place,” Benson said.
When he met Scott and heard of his organization, Benson knew he had to join.
“It feels like I’m doing something that needs to be done,” he said. “I feel as though it’s something that’s bigger than I am and if I can help keep any of that alive, I’ll do whatever I can.”
The Chitlin’ Circuit Preservation Society is on a mission to find old photos of the Cow Palace. Its members and those who love the blues meet every second Sunday of the month. The next meeting is Sept. 13 at the Cow Palace, 13431 Bull Road in Dade City.