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

Captain Luke, photo by Joanna Welborn.

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

by Joanna Welborn
Southern Cultures, Vol. 15, No. 3: Music

"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 corner, sipping a can of Natural Light and smoking a cigar."

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 corner, 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.