Certainly, the metro boasts bigger and much fancier blues venues. But this storied West Bank hole-in-the-wall is still the unbroken link to those halcyon days when Tony Glover, Dave Ray, Willie Murphy, and "Spider" John Koerner put Minneapolis on the 12-bar map, back during the first big blues revival in the '60s. Today, the Viking remains a mecca for lovers of America's first indigenous art form, a place whose reputation extends far beyond the state's boundaries. For example, tell celebrated Georgia ethnomusicologist, field recordist, and author George Mitchell you're from Minneapolis, and chances are he'll reply with: "Is the Viking still open?" Then you can give him the good news.


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