A rare joy in life is chancing a fiver on a CD and finding a true gem, I’m sitting here tonight listening to a compilation of bottleneck blues and the smile of pure gut wrenching happiness has not left my face…it’s amazing. Blind Willie Johnson…pure magic in his voice and his hands, Robert Johnson, Son House and Lightnin’ Hopkins of course, he’s fucking brilliant though I knew that before buying this, I’ve been listening to ‘goin’ away’ over and over the past few days, makes you close your eyes and sway back and forth and it does something to your insides like few songs can. Been in a Lightnin’ Hopkins – Steve Earle – Van Zandt sort of mood lately, sort of that bittersweet sadly happy kind of mood like the weather racing across the sky in sunshine and rain. Still, the sweetness is in the pain and the smiles in the song on this called ‘Hitch me to your buggy and drive me like a mule” can’t get better than that, until you get to ‘Busy Bootin’ with the line “Take it easy greasies, cause I’m busy bootin'” and “don’t you remember when my door was locked, I had yo mama on the choppin’ block” with a chorus of “I’m busy bootin’ and you can’t come in” How have I never heard the phrase busy bootin’ before? I know it’ll be a hit when I next slip the phrase I was busy bootin’ into casual conversation. Great song Fallin’ Down Blues, “I got the blues so bad, it hurts my feet to walk…Mama, I feel like jumping through the keyhole in your door…She caught the rumblins, I caught the fallin’ downs…” Dunno what the rumblins are but I catch the fallin’ downs from time to time, never knew what they were called before. The only hitch is that it’s a compilation made in the Czech republic where they don’t seem to believe in liner notes, sound’s not the greatest either but that could easily be the fault of the original recording so I shall give the Czech republic the benefit of the doubt, anyways, there’s a version of Statesboro Blues from 1927 with Blind Willie McTell playing and an unknown woman singing who is brilliant and I’ve never heard before, I shall have to see what google can do but this might be a bit beyond its powers.
This all reminded me of the liner notes from T-Model Ford’s album Pee-wee Get My Gun, a title in itself as brilliant as Burnside’s Ass Pocket of Whisky, but the liner notes are the best I’ve ever seen, they go “Years before, when I was a kid, I owned a little Ford runabout, a Model T. And I took care of that car as a man takes care of his love – for I did love it. I was and remain a Model T guy, more comfortable with imperfection than its opposite, cherishing the ability to discern and shore up a latent weakness, I knew the car wasn’t a Cadillac. Hell, what would a guy like me do with a Cad? It was a Model T, and I treated it good and it treated me good. When I sold it after two years of trouble-free driving, it was actually in better shape than the day I bought it.
Two months later it was in the junk heap.
Less than two months after I split up with Ellen, she was whoring.”
So I know I know my sense of humour is darkly twisted and politically regrettable, but I find this brilliant, besides being myself much more comfortable with imperfection than its opposite. Given the humour, I do thank the sweet lord I didn’t get that job with the feminists that I applied for, but after an interview where I discussed the evils of pornography with false enthusiasm and yet made the fatal misstep of saying the words fluffy porn upon which the room turned ice cold and my breath came out of my mouth in clouds I knew I wasn’t taking it even if it were offered which it clearly wasn’t going to be. All activists should be required to have a sense of humour anyways, the ones that don’t destroy the movement and make the rest of us look bad.
Right, I’m off to listen to my other find which is John Peel and Sheila – the Pig’s Big 78’s, random recordings off of random 78’s which is just my style and quite ridiculous but also contains another Lightnin’ Hopkins track I’ve never heard, and Sonny Terry…and then I’ll be busy bootin’ or, well, just thinking about it, I’ve got the wee single bed blues myself.