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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bringing Back The True Blue

Okay, after that last post I need to put something up that will make me feel better:-)

These guys were the true blues. These bluesmen played the blues not for the money, because lord knows there was no money to be made playing blues in Iowa, but they played it for the love the of music. Of all of them Perhaps Jimmy Pryor was the most remarkable. He started playing the blues in high school which would make him one of those artists who was both Pre-war and Post-war. From the 1930s until his death just a few years ago Jimmy Pryor played the blues as much, and as long as he could. He left Detroit Michigan, to move to Des Moines Iowa in 1960, because Des Moines in 1960 still had clubs open 24 hours. He played his heart out, and kept on playing until he died in 2006.

Louis McTizic was a wonderful man who despite daily dialysis that HE TOOK BY HIMSELF EVEN ON THE FREAKING ROAD, kept performing until he died. Louis was a kind man that took time to talk to his fans, and he held together one of those wonderful jam/blues bands that true blues lovers love to watch. Louis had some great side performers like Frenchy Campbell who could belt out Muddy like the old man himself, Sam Cochran an outstanding bass player, and Ethaline Wright who was a fine guitarist and singer herself.

Chicago Rick Lussie was a dear friend of mine that learned to play the blues on the Southside of Chicago. Much like Mike Bloomfield, and Paul Butterfield. Rick was one of those white kids who loved the blues and learned from the masters himself. Rick came to Iowa in 1960 to work as a teacher by day and musician at night. He stumbled upon Center Street in Des Moines, which was the black business district, and joined in with the rest of the blues players. He played the blues until he died much too young a few years ago.

John Woody Wood, a good friend (we shared a birthday) and always first call drummer. He lived life large, and was always pursuing a career in music. They Call Me Mr. Cleanhead was one of his favorite songs, and he performed it often. He was a brother to me, and almost every blues cat that played in Iowa. He left for California in 2002, and many of us took bets on when he would return, since he always returned home in a year or two. However, Woody never made it back. He suffered from Cancer and we lost one of our dearest friends in the blues.

Gary Smith died just a few months ago, and I am still saddened by his death. He had such a positive outlook on life, and considering his early life, or his childhood that was amazing. I think Gary was someone who certainly had a right to sing the blues because he lived them. However, no matter how bad things got with the death of his love Clover Buckingham, and his eventual loosing fight with Cancer he never seemed down. When I talked to him a few weeks before he died he told me he was going to get back to playing soon. I guess he didn't want me to worry about him, which was typical of Gary. He was such a kind person looking out for everyone else but himself. We truly need more Gary Smiths in the world.

I suppose that when I read something that riles me up, it is always important to think about what is right in the world, and about the people who have helped me be where I am. I suppose I get angry thinking of the hard work that my friends have made and never made a dime at it, versus bands that seem to fall into money and fame. However, I think that if I had the money and fame it would just bring more grief. It is nice to be semi anonymous and to be able to perform what I what and not want some corporate hack wants. Perhaps Capra was right. It is a wonderful life:-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a nice way to honor your friends that have passed. Now that are more people that know about these great bluesmen.