Photographer's Note

Some years ago I bought a great blues album called "Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down" by R. L. Burnside. It was a new style of blues, heavily "post-processed", if you will, with overdubs and inserted guitar pieces, etc. I had never heard anything quite like it, but it lead me to buy more of Burnside's music. I found that he just recently had gone that way due to his grandson's influence and influence with a band called Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion, which, I'm sorry, I cannot recommend at all. R.L. had been a bluesman all his life, but no one really knew about him until late in his life.

One day I discovered he would be at the House of Blues in Chicago. I found some friends who had never heard of R. L. Burnside, but they were game to take the train up there and check him out, so I bought some tickets and made plans to leave early Friday morning before the concert.

Unfortunately, R.L. took ill before the concert, so when we got there I called House of Blues to confirm the time of the concert and they said there was not going to be a Burnside performance, but I could trade my tickets to see T-Model Ford. Even more unfortunately, I turned down that offer, as I had not gotten used to T-Model's style of blues. I think my friends may not have appreciated him too much at that time in history, either. If you have never heard him, sample some of his music on Amazon or iTunes - you will hear what I mean. However (and there's always a however in life), both R.L. and T-Model Ford are published on a label called Fat Possum Records, the founder has made it his life's goal to dig up the real blues and show the real bluesman to the world. Both those artists were raw, dirty and the real blues and I went and missed them both.

So instead of going to the HOB, we decided to check out some of the blues clubs in Chicago. We went to the Kingston Mines and saw Big Jack Johnson - another real deal bluesman and then to Buddy Guy's Legends to catch Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, a Texas blues and swing guitarist. He was also the real deal.

Now at this time in my life I was really into the blues. I have a book with the discography of many blues artists up until about 1999 that has signatures of many of the bluesmen I got to hear live and carried it with me everywhere I went. I was used to these guys being totally approachable and more than happy to shoot the bull and give their signatures in my book. Earlier this evening Big Jack Johnson and I sat down for about a half hour, he was just like someone I'd known for years - he was happy to sign my book and the t-shirt that I bought with the Kingston Mines logo on it. I got my picture with him, amd when he came to St. Louis, he remembered me!

Gate was totally different and although I shouldn't expect everyone to be the same, I kind of did and I was taken aback when he was a jerk to his fans. At the break he sat near the entrance for signatures on his CDs and to sell his t-shirts. The staff at Buddy Guy's told me he probably wouldn't be too happy about signing my book if I didn't buy something, so I got a t-shirt, I already had the CD he was selling (Gate Swings). When I got close in line, there was good looking girl getting his autograph and he said "Whatchu mean you want me to sign that? You didn't even buy anything? Damn, girl, get yo' ass over there and buy something and then I'll sign it. I don't sign no t-shirts, tho!" and he was serious and none too nice about it...

I'd already bought the t-shirt and I really wanted to get his signature in my book (these guys don't live forever), so I waited and put up with his complaining that I had a big ol' fat book about him and he didn't see one dime from it. We left and went somewhere else and didn't watch the end of the show, I didn't really care. At least he let me take his picture. By the way, the date on the frame should actually say September 8, 2001.

Gate died recently, I wonder if he was just cranky that night or if he died a bitter old blues man. I guess you have to pay your dues when you got those blues.

We went home on the Amtrak and drank them out of Heineken on the way. Had a hangover the next day, but that was cleared up shortly by the events at the WTC on 9/11. I didn't listen to music for at least 6 months.

I have another blues photograph up today on TrekLens. I kind of over-processed it and didn't want to get it kicked off here.

Mondays almost always give me the blues, but I don't know how many decent shots I have left.

BennyV, ktanska ha contrassegnato questa nota come utile

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Additional Photos by Reed Radcliffe (rlrad) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 250 W: 18 N: 393] (1845)
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