Tag Archives: Muddy Waters

My iPod Has Issues – Too Early For Bed

16 Jun

The summer class that I am teaching is halfway finished.

The meetings I had today did not last long.

The dinner we had at the local pizzeria was quite good.

Everyone else is in bed, but I cannot go to bed before 10 pm. Going to bed before 10 pm means I have reached a time in life that I am not ready to admit. When I was a kid, I would beg my parents to let me stay up until the local news was over. I usually made it through Johnny Carson’s monologue or through the beginning of a John Wayne movie on the late show. Nope, I will not go to bed earlier than that.

Instead, I will delve into the mind of my psychotic iPod and see what is going on.

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Search for Vulcan” by Leroy Holmes

“Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle

“Carolyn” by Merle Haggard

“Stereotomy” by The Alan Parsons Project

“Ebo Walker” by The Dillards

“Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone

“She’s Got You” by Loretta Lynn

“Got My Mojo Working” by Muddy Waters

“Memphis Exorcism” by Squirrel Nut Zippers

“Garden Party” by Ricky Nelson

“6 Underground” by Sneaker Pimps

“Free Ride” by Edgar Winter

“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin

“Lazy River” by Pete Fountain

“Hallelujah I Love Her So” by Ray Charles

“God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys

“More Than You Know” by Mel Torme

“O Death” by Ralph Stanley

“Down Together” by The Refreshments

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My iPod Has Issues – The One Before the Interesting One

2 Aug

The past few days have been eventful. Some of it was awesome. Some of it was weird. However, it was all interesting. I will write about all of it in the next post, but, for the moment, I have a hard time keeping the words on the screen in focus.

That is why we are going to look into the iPod to see what is happening. I thought about going with a theme but decided to stick with a true shuffle.

What will be on the playlist? Only the iPod knows.Shadow

“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Dave Alvin

“Let’s Work Together” by Canned Heat

“Sentimental Lady” by Bob Welch

“Time Bomb” by Godsmack

“The Mooche” by Duke Ellington

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition

“Wild Boys” by Duran Duran

“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink” by Merle Haggard

“Fight The Power” by Public Enemy

“Let The Good Times Roll” by B.B. King

“99 Problems” by Jay-Z

“Crying” by Roy Orbison

“Twentieth Century Fox” by The Doors

“Sigmund and the Seamonsters” by Tripping Daisy

“Eli’s Coming” by Three Dog Night

“What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner

“Easin’ In” by Edward Starr

“Tiger Man” by Elvis Presley

“The Times They Are A-Changin'” by Bob Dylan

“Rollin’ and Tumblin'” by Muddy Waters

I promise that the next post will be interesting.

I Went Down to the Crossroad

15 Mar

I just returned from an excursion to Tunica, Mississippi with my parents. I gambled and lost. I ate a lot of food. I did not find any prostitutes. However, the highlight of the trip was a drive south on Highway 61 to Clarksdale, Mississippi, a town that I have been wanting to visit for a long time.

I only knew a couple of things about Clarksdale. It is one of the places that claims to be home to the crossroad where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in return for being a great Blues guitarist. The junction of Highway 61 and Highway 49 is marked by a sign commemorating the spot.Clarksdale 5

As I got out to take a picture, I wondered if this was the real crossroad. Then, I wondered why I was wondering about a place that claims to be the location of an event that is more myth than fact.

No matter what happened at what crossroad, Clarksdale has built itself as the center of the Blues universe because of that legend. It hosts music festivals and is home to our next destination, the Delta Blues Museum.Clarksdale 1

This is a cool museum with all kinds of interesting artifacts. It is also where I learned that there is more to the town’s legacy than a legend at a highway crossing. It is the birthplace of Sam Cooke, John Lee Hooker and Ike Turner, who is famous for being the abusive husband of Tina Turner. Before that, he was known as the piano player on “Rocket 88“, which is considered by many to be the first Rock n’ Roll recording.

People who lived in Clarksdale include the aforementioned Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and W.C. Handy.

At the museum, I picked up a town map that marked all of the historic locations. That is when I found out that a couple of other famous people lived in Clarksdale.

Charlie Conerly, a hometown hero, was quarterback for the New York Giants throughout the 1950s. However, the biggest surprise was discovering that Tennessee Williams lived there as a child when his grandfather was assigned to a local parish.

The town is not that large, and it did not take long to find the historic markers. We started with the marker for W.C. Handy, known as “Father of the Blues.” The museum claims that is more to good marketing than actual influence.Clarksdale 2

Next, we drove across downtown to the Tennessee Williams Park, which sits around the corner from his grandfather’s church.Clarksdale 3

This is where I learned that Williams got some of his characters from people he knew in Clarksdale. Down the street sits the Cutrer Mansion, the home of Blanche Cutrer and her husband. It seems to me that there is a character in one of his plays named Blanche.

After taking a drive past the palatial homes in this neighborhood, we went back across town to the other thing I knew about Clarksdale. It is home to Ground Zero Blues Club, owned by Morgan Freeman.Clarksdale 4

Here are my parents in front of the Ground Zero sign.Clarksdale 6

The club served lunch during the day, but we were disappointed. It was not that great. However, the waitress did a good job. My mom asked a lot of questions about Morgan Freeman, and I am sure that they were questions that the waitress has heard many times. He lives in Mississippi when he is not filming and comes by quite often. In fact, he has an apartment upstairs. He is humble but, as the waitress described, “smells like money.” I reckon that was her way of saying that he tries to hide his success, but everyone knows he is rich and famous.

We finished our meal and drove past the famous crossroad on our way out of town. However, that is when I started thinking about the place we had just seen and how it may have looked back in the old days. I started by wondering how the crossroad looked back then. If Robert Johnson made his way to this place, then was it a dirt crossing in the middle of cotton fields like I have always imagined? Or, was it a group of shacks on the outskirts of town where people lived and survived?

Whatever it looked like, I imagine that it was completely different from the neighborhood Tennessee Williams and Blanche Cutrer lived in. That was the home of the landed gentry who owned the cotton fields surrounding the town and the businesses within the town.

Clarksdale’s downtown, which can be walked across easily, is an interesting place. Although the buildings are now old and worn, they are signs that Clarksdale was once a thriving place. The buildings are multi-storied and must have been grand in their day. There are facades of banks and other lucrative businesses. There is no doubt that this was once a place of money.

However, that money flowed to one side of town. The other side of town, literally the other side of the tracks, was where those who left the fields of sharecropping to make their way, congregated and lived. This is where the Blues could be heard, and small African-American owned businesses could be found.

The two sides of town were within walking distance but were worlds apart. Downtown must have been the intersection. I could see people like Brick, Maggie the Cat and Big Daddy walking the streets and talking about “those people” when they saw them across the street. In the real world, “those people” were Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Robert Johnson.

I wonder what the landed gentry would think about the modern version of their town. While their houses remain, they are not why people travel to Clarksdale. People come to Clarksdale because of the music that was made on the other side of the tracks. People come to Clarksdale because of the music that was inspired by the conditions that people on the other side of the tracks found themselves in. People come to Clarksdale to celebrate their accomplishments and not the accomplishments of the ones who thought they would be remembered.

By the way, the richest man in town is an African-American who “smells like money.”

As we drove out of town, I wondered what the landed gentry would think about that.

My iPod Has Issues – “Talking About Prostitutes is Tiresome” Edition

20 Feb

I cannot think of a single thing to write about. My mind has not been this big of a blank in a long time. Maybe it is frazzled. I have been giving my fabled “Prostitution in the American West” lecture this week, and the effort has drained me. I am also hungry. That could be a big part of it. On second thought, I think it is the prostitutes.Prostitute

Let us go ahead study the craziness that is my iPod.

“Rollin’ Stone” by Muddy Waters

“Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds

“In Bloom” by Nirvana

“Bring Your Love to Me” by Hubert Sumlin

“That Lady” by The Isley Brothers

“Train, Train” by Blackfoot

“OK, So What?” by Freddie North

“Nice ‘n Easy” by Frank Sinatra

“Satan is Her Name” by Steve King

“The Look of Love” by Isaac Hayes

“If Anyone Falls” by Stevie Nicks

“Your Love is Amazing” by Robert Ward

“Back Home Again” by John Denver

“America” by Neil Diamond

“Don’t Forget That You’re My Baby” by The Spidells

“Truck Drivin’ Queen” by Moore and Napier

“With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles

“Got Me Under Pressure” by ZZ Top

“(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” by The Clash

“How Long” by Ace

Now, I am off to get some food and get some sleep.