Sunday, June 05, 2005

Howlin' Wolf

Just got through watching an amazing documentary on Howlin' Wolf called The Howlin' Wolf Story. Talk about living the blues, geez. Two scenes that will remain with me; one was a filmed performance that Alan Lomax had set up to emulate a juke-joint in the backstage area of Newport ('66). The scene is, Howlin' playin a song and he's interrupted mid-song by a very drunk Sun House who goes on a rant about there only being one true blues, that between a man and a woman. The two exchange some words with each other in which Wolf gets in a jab about Sun having "drunk all his"(meaning the whiskey that was flowing). And finally ending with Wolf chastising Sun for "doing nothing with his life". Kinda sad. Makes you feel for this poor soul who was blessed with such amazing talent, only to have it wasted away on booze and be driven further down by an oppressive society. Howlin' then tears in to an amazing version of "Meet Me At The Bottom" that has him down on one knee testifying to the small crowd that had gathered.
The other is eloquently told by Hubert Sumlin in which he recounts a moving story of Wolf seeing his mother in Clarksdale after ten years of estrangement. Wolf started crying and gave his mother a $500 dollar bill(which Sumlin had never seen before) which she promptly stomped on and left on the floor having proclaimed her distaste for his "devil's music". In the end, when Wolf was dying, he reached out to his mother but she refused to see him.
And that made me realize, that's why I do what I do. My mother has been the greatest force of love in my life and will always remain in my heart as such. Everything I do in this life is to please her. Not myself or anyone else. Her words of praise are everything to me. She has done more for me than I could ever recount or express in words of gratitude. And I've got to believe that's why I've chosen the field of artistic expression to pursue in this life. There is no corporate job or amount of money that could repay the debt she's experienced in sacrifice for me. She been my strongest supporter and my greatest inspiration. I love her more than words can say. And I hope that love is expressed in what I do. That's all that I can ask for.


Blogger amateurhour said...

Yes, a great DVD. I really liked the scene where Howlin' Wolf is playing that TV show with the Stones at his feet and those chick dancers dancing along in the back. Howlin' Wolf is on stage just rockin.

But that scene with a drunk Son House was kind of a bummer. He's like a giant and he's being kinda pathetic. But in a way, seeing an artist's negative side kinda makes the music more real...more human. These guys weren't saints.

8:40 AM  

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