A few weeks ago Joey asked me out of the blue if I remembered that Blues Brothers music I used to play. Max was into the Blues Brothers big time back in his day and I’m sure that is how Joey remembers it. I’m not sure if someone online he plays with reminded him of it somehow, or how it popped into his head, but he asked me.
I was thrilled of course.
I have always loved the Blues Brothers and at least the first movie. Jeff and I used to listen to the “Briefcase Full of Blues” album
and goof on “Rubber Biscuit” and shout out “Soul Man” and in retrospect, this may have been my first exposure to blues in general. I loved every track. Over the years I have picked up several albums by Jake and Elwood and played loud. They were family friendly during a time I was into some darker stuff and Max in particular seemed to dig it. “Soul Man” of course was in the head of everyone in the house. After getting into the blues heavy in later years I always had a sense of respect for the SNL skit that grew into it’s own thing. I didn’t think they were robbing the blues for their own gain, it always seemed to me that they respected the music and were showing their love for it in their own goofy way.
Max got a photo with the boys at Universal in Florida one year.
Wait, that’s not really them?! It was cool anyway. They played a great set with all the favorites in gut wrenching, face melting heat and were all smiles afterwards for photos. True bluesmen to the core.
Anyway, when Joey asked me about the Blues Brothers he even remembered the song “Soul Man” and said it was the one I always played. He and I had set up Dropbox to his new tablet and so I sent him everything I had. Frankly I thought that would be the end of it. Joey is into Z104 (local Top 40 radio) and Dubstep and no way did I think he would listen to any more than “Soul Man”, but in fact he has. The other day while we were in the car together he said something to me about “Rubber Biscuit” and I was shocked. I rattled off some of the lyrics “The other day I had a coolwater sandwich and a Sunday go-to-meetin’ bun, bow bow bow…” and Joey chimmed in. It was great.
Several times I have walked by his room and heard it pumping from his tiny tablet speakers.
He was singing “Flip, Flop and Fly” the other day to his friends online. It made me smile.
I keep telling him that someday he is going to come to me and ask for old stuff, like Stones or Bowie or Zeppelin when he finally hits that phase in his life. That I will be ready to share all that music with him and more.
At any rate, a few nights ago Joey and I were in the kitchen and he asked if he could hook his tablet to the stereo and play some Blues Brothers. He hooked it up to the AUX cord and soon we were jamming. When I told him to turn it up he looked at me and smiled. He played “Peter Gun Theme”, “Rawhide” and “Messin’ With The Kid”. It was awesome.
Joey had requested music from me only one other time, and that was for a copy of the song “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” by Youthquake which unfortunately I didn’t have digitally back then. Someone had remixed it or sampled it and he was digging it. I gave him the Manson version (which is surprisingly NOT disturbing) but that had no possibilities for further exposure. THIS request for Blues Brothers and the way he was still listening to it got me thinking…
I told Joy the story of how I came to love the blues and then I ran to the basement to get my personal “briefcase full of blues”. It’s a tape case with all my blues tapes (all that will fit anyway, there are 30 or so that don’t fit) that I will never get rid of, even if I have gotten their digital replacements.
I asked Joey if I could play him some blues from the case. He said sure. Oh, it was on!
I tried to think what blues would be a good start. That meant no Son House straight out of the gate and nothing live, and try to keep it uptempo. I started him off with an Alligator Records 20th Anniversary compilation. We heard “Give Me Back My Wig” by Hound Dog Taylor. I was groovin’ to it and cranked it up a bit. Joey said it was “pretty good” but I could see it wasn’t flipping his switch so I moved on to the classics. I put in “Buddy Guy – Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues” and played the title track. Buddy Guy is one of my favorite blues artists and he is ALWAYS good. I could see that Joey liked it a bit more.
Then we went to the computer and I showed him all the blues I have on my external. I played him some Muddy Waters: “Mannish Boy” and “Hootchie Cootchie Man”. I was starting to get ramped up and I knew it. Slow it down man. I thought about the times that several friends had tried to sit me down and turn me on to Hendrix. I was doing the same thing. So, I stopped. We ate dinner and went on to other things.
Better to have planted the seed than to have turned him away trying.
I’ll give it a few weeks and let it germinate. Blues inception. The I’ll come back with a hand picked batch of files that he can listen to on his tablet, alone, forming his own opinions.
The beginners guide to blues for 11 year olds. Hmm… that should be fun.