By day they're probably mechanics, insurance adjusters, or perhaps stay-at-home moms, but on the small stage at Babe‘s & Ricky's Inn, they're musical shamans channeling the soul stirring energy of the blues. For more than 40 years, Babe’s & Ricky's has been the premier spot to catch firebrand blues in L.A. Founded in 1964 by working-class, single-mother Laura Mae Gross, Babe‘s & Ricky's infused South L.A.'s Central Avenue with the blues for more than 30 years. Now located in the recently revived epicenter of African-American culture and art, Leimert Park, Babe’s & Ricky's presents the best bluesmen and women L.A. has to offer. A steady stream of musicians wields their musical chops, as every guitar squeal and saxophone lament is critiqued by the audience of locals, newcomers and lifelong patrons. Mondays offer a particularly savory treat: $8 gets you a hearty helping of fried chicken, cornbread and collard greens as a side order to the blues. Gross still sits at the entrance, as she has from the beginning, counting cash and offering a stern warning to “keep those hands out of the cornbread.” Tonight, you're a guest in Gross' house, so enjoy this experience, filled with flavors and sounds good for both the stomach and the soul. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park. (323) 295-9112,

—Drew Tewksbury

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