Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Blues

"Some got six months, some got one solid year
But me and my partner, we got lifetime here."

The Blues, a thing that is not comprehended correctly by many people these days. It arose in a time and place that have long since vanished. It is locked in museums which people have no desire to frequent. Occasionally, it is hauled out of these caves and aired on television for a fraction of a second, or is spoken about by men like Eric Clapton, whose fans are middle-aged American housewives and guitar playing nerds, who feel that the British guitar slinger is the be-all and end-all, and that he is the epitome of the Blues. In reality, he is crushed under the immense weight of greatness that is the music of the men who populated the levees, the lumber camps, the freight trains, the cotton fields, the prisons, and the street corners. There were once great creators like Richard "Rabbit" Brown, Luke Jordan, Charley Patton, Blind Willie McTell, Texas Alexander, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, Fred McDowell, and the last of the originals, Johnny Shines. Perhaps even more than these men, there were the black faces who remain nameless. Today, there are only two men, who, when they want to, or are capable of doing it, twist the listener's ears, grab his feet and strike them to the ground with merciless joy, and keep his faith in music alive: Alvin Youngblood Hart and Corey Harris.

"Did you ever get up in the mornin', with the blues three different ways?
You had two minds to leave here, and you didn't have but one to stay"
-Son House
"Downhearted Blues"

Modernity has afforded us many luxuries, but none of these pleasantries is spirit, song, stompin' that thing, or being graced by a genius like Jelly Roll Morton.