Monday, October 13, 2008

me and the devil blues

Sorry that last post was so depressing. It's like I was damned to Hell for two weeks and then given pardon for the last two days. Now I'm back. The Yerba Buena fashion symposium was refreshing. Although I didn't have anything new to sell, I made some money and good contacts, and (surprisingly) got to catch up with many friends and acquaintances.

Chemo today. Adriamycin. They call it the Red Devil because of its color and inherent nastiness. During my three hour powwow with the devil I read a small article on Robert Johnson and his elusive history. I wrote a paper a couple of semesters ago on persona poems based on Leadbelly, having been a fan. I had never heard of Robert Johnson though. Oh, is he good. soso good.

"she got a lein on my body now, mortage on my soul..."
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His history is convoluted with folklore. They say he died at 27 after drinking poisoned whiskey by a man jealous of his wife's affection. They say that he recorded his 78 with his chair facing the corner of the room, back to everyone. They say he sold his soul to the Devil for his talent.

I have always had a love affair with music rooted in blues. It comes from my dad singing and playing his guitar for me as a little girl. I don't think he knew many songs, but House of the Rising Sun was the one I remember most. I didn't understand the song. I knew it was sad. New Orleans was a place I'd never been to, but my family had roots there, so somehow it felt personal. I reveled in the stories my dad told me about his guitar, how he bought it on a Vietnam stint, how the inlaid dove was real ivory, shiny and smooth. When I got older I tried to learn to play. The strings hurt my hands; I could never press hard enough. It never occurred to me that there was anything else to learn on but steel.

Here is a little playlist of my favorites, including Leadbelly's version of House of the Rising Sun, and a song from Dylan & Cash's Nashville sessions.


stephen said...

i love leadbelly!!! i am sooo glad you do too... i wish you werent in sacramento cause ive been low energy and on lots of meds lately too and i think we are perfect for eachother right now

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