Feed Us A Live Insect

Friday, April 28, 2006

Why a big leg, anyway?

I don't really know why I've been thinking about this so much.

A few weeks ago we were up in Santa Barbara visiting relatives. Santa Barabara is (was?) a very nice place, except that it has this horrible, blighted main drag called State Street, which is more or less like driving down the middle of a shopping mall, except with lots and lots of heavy traffic all of the time, and I get very irritable whenever I'm around there.

We found ourselves looking for food and, in desperation, wound up out on the patio of some faceless sports bar--where they had a live band to serenade us while we ate our club sandwiches. And it was, of course, a washed up 1970's white "blues" band playing for the tourists and the pigeons. The lead singer/guitarist looked like a cross between Santa Claus and this old man named Bob who attached himself to my boyscout troop for unspecified purposes when I was about 12 years old and lived in a trailer with several thousand 78 rpm records.

Anyway--while I do not claim that all white people are incapable of convincingly performing blues music, these particular white people certainly were. Watching Saint Nick there noodle around on his extrememly expensive guitar (which was, of course, painted blue) while desperately trying to deliver the line "I'm looking for a big-leg woman" with conviction gave me a very, very special feeling. It would have been more special if they had taken the next logical step and performed in blackflace, maybe wearing prison garb and performing field hollers...okay, it wasn't maybe that offensive, but it was close. In aesthetic terms it was an atrocity.

Here is some blues music performed by a white person that actually is very good. Technically I suppose it's gospel rather than blues, but I still think it's an amazing performance.

Brother Claude Ely-Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down