Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"It was along about that time that Blind Lemon Jefferson came through..."


I'm just a sniveling little suburban boozhie white-boy, up to his elbows researching Old, Weird America for a book that'll sell four copies before it hits the remainder bin, but it destroys me -- just destroys me -- to know that there was a time, long before I was born, when a young, musically curious Hobart Smith could be holed up in his parents' cabin in Smyth County, Virginia, trying to learn the "git-tar," only to have a black work crew come through town accompanied by a pretty fair git-tar player name o' Blind Lemon Jefferson.

O' course, Hobart and Blind Lemon couldn't pop into and just look up chords and tablature, could they. There are some tradeoffs.

Check it out yourself.
You might want to listen to Hobart playing "Cripple Creek," too (upper left-hand corner).


Ronzoni Rigatoni said...

Geeze, Nedster, you stir up some memories (maybe just one) here. I actually knew a guy named Gene Christian who played country fiddle at the Black Angus in Hialeah, FL, for many years. Gene was one of Bill Monroe's original guys, and he, his daughter and his wife had a band that kept that little bistro going for 18 years. When Gene finally retired to TN, the bar/restaurant/dance hall folded. It is now a funeral home.

I was never one for fiddle music until my neighbor, a Pan Am pilot, re-introduced me to Stephane Grapelli and insisted I see Christian et al., every week-end, which we did for many many years. A whole lotta bourbon disappeared during that period of my short-lived life.

Neddie said...


Amazing coincidence... I only just now finished reading this article in the Post, with a slight tremble in my lower lip for a place I'd never even heard of...

Stephane Grapelli is a major hero around these parts. Although his blog-name is Brown Fang, my dog's real name is Django.

Ronzoni Rigatoni said...

Ahhhh Roadhouses. I grew up there and collected 'em all my life. Played pianny with a roadhouse band every weekend all thru college (By ear, by golly. Mirror on the upright in case anybody threw a chair and I could duck).

In Miami, I discovered this one way out in the Everglades (made famous by Donna Rice and Bandit 2)

Alas, all gone now.