Ladies and genteman, Hot Tuna playing Hesitation Blues. For those who enjoy ignorance Hot Tuna is comprised of Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and, I suspect, the ghost of Blind Willie McTell. I give you this raggedy ragtime jivin’ blues because I myself am hesitating to write a real post. You see I started a new job, the kind that could even be said to be in the careerist realm, and I’m a dollar and a dime short on inspiration and layin’ low on the libation–poor formula for writing. I don’t apologize, you can deal without boozy ramblings for a little while–maybe you could even drink some booze and write your own blues.

You’re all probably wondering why I haven’t been posting much this week. Well, for one I need a new bottle to review. The other reason is I’ve been a busy man, working a couple jobs a day while continuing my never-ending search for a real job. Added to all that is the fact that it’s been so hot that typing makes me sweat. Seriously, I’m worried my sweat is going to short out my keyboard. This week I was fortunate enough to catch a great live music act though, and hence this post.

I first saw the Carolina Chocolate Drops last summer as part of the Prescott Park Summer Concert Series in Portsmouth, NH. Well, Wednesday I relived that experience. Great beer and food with my old man at the Portsmouth Brewery lubricated our ears for the experience as usual, and the cool breeze rolling off the Piscataqua made being outside tolerable. The band was, as remembered, a great live act–they played that good down home old-time music with not only incredible talent and versatility, but with energy, soul, and a great understanding of the music’s history, which they did not hesitate to share with the audience. They’re not only showmen, they’re ethno-musicologists who can play everything from rags, jigs, and blues to Gaelic songs. If you ever get the chance to see this band live, do it, you won’t regret it. If not, I’ve attached a nice long video so you can get a bit of the experience for yourself.

My dad used to play Kelly Joe Phelps’ record “Shine Eyed Mister Zen” a good deal when I was in my formative years of realizing what music actually was and, like the other artists I heard then, I’ve never stopped listening. If I could I would sing and play like Phelps, with that smokey voice and a beautiful fluid versatility on slide that is only rivaled by Ry Cooder. This number, many of my readers may know, is a cover of an old Leadbelly song. It’s also a devastatingly beautiful song–back in the days when I had a radio show I closed my first and last shows with this song. Unfortunately, being a cover, this song fails to show you that KJP is also a poet with masterful lyrics. I suppose you’ll have to look him up and buy one or two of his albums to see for yourself. Start out buying “Shine Eyed Mister Zen,” it’s not his first album, and you can go back for “Lead Me On” later, but that’s the way I heard it and the way I still love it. If you think the blues is dead, you’re dead wrong.

I’m still feeling the tremorous after effects of last night. You see, in the wee hours of last night / this morning our caravan headed south to retrieve a valued envoy from the airport. At around 3 am we were headed north bound. The sky began to lighten around 4. We arrived at our safe house around 4:30. The fridge was full. Beer. Lots of it. And some good cheese, that’s an irrelevant detail. Last night wrapped itself until about 11 am. It’s a bit fuzzy, perhaps it’s the alcohol, perhaps I sustained a concussion during one of the 4 drunken grappling sessions which I was consecutively subjected to. There was lots of singing. Screaming of the old anthems, and some new. There was a lot of whiskey slugging. As I write this my voice is just whistles and gasps. Perhaps we took it a tad too far. Perhaps this is just a beginning of a massive decent into rock ‘n’ roll again. This is what youth should be. This is the return of the fiery days of the Wulfemen. As the Clash say, we’re a garage band. We live in garage land. Welcome home, comrade. Hawwwooooooooooo!!!