If you check out my "Cosmic Sounds" listing sometime, you will notice a whole lot of blues artists are listed. Especially the really old blues guys. A lot of people have told me that I don't seem like I would be someone who would be into the blues. Believe me, it all came about quite by accident. Here's how it happened.
This is kind of what my old boyfriend looked like.
When I was about 16 I was dating this guy that was a guitarist. He wasn't in a band or anything at that time, he was still learning. He was taking a few lessons from some guy who was very "earthy", for lack of a better description. You know, the long hair, the sandals, the faint whiff of pot whenever he walked by. I can't even remember his real name now so we'll call him Bart. It didn't take Bart and his wife long to figure out that 16 year olds = BABYSITTING. So my boyfriend and I would go over to their house on weekend nights and babysit while the parents went out to party.
One night I ended up doing the babysitting gig alone for some reason. Bart and the wife were already gone, the kid was in bed and I was desperately trying to find something to watch on TV....yuck. I couldn't get interested in my book, so I started looking around some (a.k.a "being extremely nosy"). Bart's house was more like a recording studio than a house....there was all sorts of equipment EVERYWHERE.....amps and wires and boxes and shit. You couldn't move for piles of electronic-type stuff. I was too paranoid to touch anything because I was afraid I'd touch something wrong and accidentally erase one of Bart's recorded masterpieces or something. But I did notice a little tape recorder, one of the old rectangular black-box kinds and I knew how to work that. And there was an unlabeled home-made tape in it so I decided to push the "play" button and check out what ol' Bart was up to.
And it was this old blues music. To be honest, I thought it was something maybe Bart had recorded on that very tape recorder with some black guy singing......because the sound quality was poor, also because I was ignorant. But it was awesome all the same. I was totally into it and I was convinced that Bart and the singing black guy were going to get rich quick. This music really "moved" me. Maybe I was a black sharecropper in a former life or something, because it almost had a familiar feel to it.
Its hard to explain.
THE definitive Robert Johnson photograph.
Anyway, when Bart and his wife got home, I was gushing about his tape and how good it was. And he just kind of stood there, radiating pot fumes like a gas heater, and was like, "oh dude, that's not me, that's Robert Johnson. That was from like, 40 or 50 years ago. But here man, you can have this tape if I can knock a little bit off what I owe for the babysitting." I managed to find out a little about Robert Johnson at the library but information was scant. Later on public interest in his work blossomed when the "Crossroads" movie came out and after that it was easier to find recordings. Of course listening to Robert Johnson led me to discover Charlie Patton, Son House, Muddy, Howling Wolf, Blind Blake, etc. And all of that led to a deeper understanding of how music has evolved to what it is today. These guys were truly the first rockers.
The other Robert Johnson photograph. There used to be dispute as to whether this was actually him. So, boredom and nosiness led to a lifelong love of the blues, not to mention the fact that Bart gave me that tape. Its a crying shame that someone who gave me such a lasting gift....I can't even his name for sure. But thank you Bart, wherever you are!