Guitar strings humming, to slow rhythmic
singing on dirt sidewalk, 1928 deep south lic,
hard times turn lyrical phrase blues,
“Mississippi” John Hurt in colorful hues,
on “Avalon Blues” and “Blue Harvest Blues”.
Pulling up old grief feelings, seems endless
to him, can elaborate to music, from relentless,
pushing, provocation to fall, but instead,
creates bumping notes across the strings, threads
to move in darkly slow progressions fed.
People stop to listen, him singing
on the old porch, throw coins, ringing
in the can, for food money,
He nods as they tip, funny
old dog sitting next to him, hungry.
Something about the Blues,
a connection is made, a memory ensues,
for many around the world are drawn,
to the slow rhythm, coats their pain, sawn
to redemption, like thick black oil
lubricating red, rusty gears of soiled
time clock tower, as it keeps moving in toil….
Mississippi John Hurt died in 1966, but his music lives on. He saw a renewed interest in his music when he performed in 1964 at the Newport Folk Festival. The great Blues revival in the 1960s encouraged old time blues musicians to perform widely across the country.
Los Angeles County is home to many diverse blues clubs. Their colorful names capture the blues seeker’s imagination and draw them into the scene. Blue Dog in Long Beach, Little Red Rooster in Montebello, Lucille’s Smoke House and BBQ in Long Beach, Brea, and Cucamonga, Route 66 Roadhouse in Duarte, Pure Pleasure Blues Club in L.A., and Liquid Kitty in L.A. are a few of the many blues houses in and around L.A.
The blues bands that play here also have vivid titles to stimulate interest in the fan. Zac Harmon & The Mid South Blues Revue won awards for their amazing sounds of the deep south. Zac is traveling with the band now, but he’ll be back. The beautiful Zola Moon will win your blues loving heart with her powerful, soulful voice at venues such as The Starboard Attitude, in Redondo Beach, and The Scarlet Lady, in Culver City. Billy Vera & The Beaters will satisfy your yearning for a California take on the Blues. You can hear Billy at Vitello’s in Studio City, and Rusty’s Surf Ranch in Santa Monica. Check out the many Blues Clubs around the city for your favorite style of Blues.
Everyone seems to get the blues, lately, even if it just a passing feeling. Money is slow in coming, and work seems more difficult. Listening to a live blues performance may be just what we need to soften the stress and strains. The stories of Blues music tell of hard times we can relate to with driving chord changes to cure all loneliness. We begin to realize we aren’t alone with our blues, as we enjoy the Blues in L.A.
S. Blair Fox