Spontaneous Poetics – 106 – (Blues – 1 – Ma Rainey & Bo Carter)

AG: I don’t know when these were recorded. I think late (19)20’s, or early (19)30’s. And there are a lot of famous musicians on (here). I think (Louis) Armstrong has got that trumpet. (From the) same recording session, (the) famous “C.C.Rider” (or “Easy Rider”) – “C.C.Rider” – (and) the last (one, the other one) was “Jelly Bean Blues“.

[Allen recites the lyrics]”Did you ever wake up with your good man at your side/Did you ever wake up with your good man at your side/My daddy left me this morning, that’s why I moan and cry./ He’ll make you laugh, he’ll make you cry/ He’ll drive those blues away/ You’ll sit right down to weep and moan and then he’ll kindly say/ Lord, I’ve been wondering where my jellybean has gone/ I done sit right here and look a thousand miles away/ I just can’t remember what my baby had to say/ He said, C.C. Rider, someday I’m gone away and I won’t be back until you change your ways/ Come back, come back, Hattie, today I’m saying goodbye/ If you did not want me you had not right to lie”

AG: What I was digging about the Blues – yeah… – “Easy Rider” – so, I guess, a “solid-fucker” – rider – easy-rider – (I think that was just an adaptation for that, Aesopian language, as they say in the Soviet Union, that is to say, slightly disguised language for straightforward erotic directness). That’s one of the advantages of both the Blues and the Calypso forms originally, according to Samuel Charters (who was an early pop music expert). The content of Blues were direct, personal statements (there’s another line, of Bessie Jackson‘s, “I’ve got nipples on my titties as big as the end of my thumb” – so it’s really personal! – it got cleaned up for recording (for) the white public, but, originally, both Calypso and Blues were great vehicles for direct erotic and politic commentary (Calypso, more for political, and Blues, I think, more for erotic)). And they were both forms also that could be improvised to. So you could make up political commentaries. You’ve heard calypsos which are discussions of local governors or local mayors? You’ve heard of them, or heard about them? -Well, they are, they exist, anyway – In a way, what they do is, again, they’re the songman, (or songwoman), in a modern state, in a modern industrial state, with modern media-homogenized consciousness, going underneath the public consciousness, so, in a sense, giving psychological geography. Just as the Australian Aborigine had to give the topographical geography for the migration cycle, so the Blues shaman (or shaman-ess) is actually laying forth the secrets of private life. It becomes a vehicle.. for mass unconscious (but privately conscious) awareness and communication that would otherwise be forbidden in public discourse – to do it, to commercialize on it – just straight gut-bucket whorehouse Blues, where you could talk about “Pussy, pussy, come home, where’s your pussy at?/ You say you got to go home and feed your pussycat/ Come here to my house, we’ll give your pussy some good cat-food/Going home alone ain’t gonna do your pussy no good” – A sample of that is given in The Blues Line, the book I mentioned (earlier). Do you all have a notation of that? – The Blues Line, A Collection of Blues Lyrics, edited by Eric Sackheim, Schermer Books, paperback, 1975 – [reprinted Da Capo Books, 2003]

[Audio of the above discourse may be accessed here, for the first nine minutes]

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