Doc Static says I should write about the blues. But you know I’ve already had this discussion. (So long ago.) My friend Chuck—who already had admitted to stealing some of my lines for his review of a Doc Watson concert (thank you, Chuck, I accept flattery) and who for a while attended most of the same concerts as I did—suggested that I might want to write a review or two myself. He knew me, knew I wrote and respected my writing. I couldn’t imagine taking the gig, though, because music was recreation, a soul solace, and writing was work…and never the twain, as Rudy K. used to say.
But—says Doc Static, joining the conversation telepathically (he’s like that)—aren’t you in a band? Doesn’t that require rehearsal, practice and time?
That’s true, I replied.
That’s work, isn’t it?
I hate it when Doc Static wins an argument and hate it most of all when he wins it telepathically.
So, okay, the blues. I have in this slot and on similar occasions previously said that I was introduced to the blues at the age of four by my father singing “Goodnight Irene.”
(Purists will say that although “Irene” is a Leadbelly song, and Leadbelly is an authentically down-home (he-even-sang-his-way-out-of-prison-on-a-man-killing-charge-for-pity’s-sake) African-American troubadour, the song is not really a blues song.)
I say the purists can all take a flying.
They can tell their cool stories about their introduction to the blues, and I’ll tell mine.
Tune the nostalgic replay machine to a rustic, rural parlour in Port Essington, B.C., the Skeena River, 1954.
You’re on, Dad.
So what do you say when you didn’t want to say?
It’s the blues. It’s life.
There’s a lot to say.