Dropping In on the Blues

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Last Saturday night my husband and I set out for an old friend’s house, on a dark little street in Berkeley, a few blocks south of the campus.  The occasion was a “blues party” – my friend hails from Chicago and grew up listening to the blues on WOPA.   He has a collection of classic recordings and wanted an excuse to play them.  We had to park a couple of blocks away, of course; you can’t park on that block except by divine intervention.  The bad news is, walking down the almost completely dark street looking for the right house, I wasn’t paying enough attention to the awful sidewalk, and I caught my foot on a tree bulge and went down.  The good news is, I came away with nothing worse than a bruised knee, and liberal application of ice packs (starting at the party) seems to be helping.  It isn’t even very sore.  But it looks ghastly.  And it unsettled me – falls make you feel vulnerable, even when you don’t damage anything serious.

There was more on the evening agenda than a “mere” collection of classic blues recordings.  We watched the debut of a new blues singer in the old tradition:  my friend, who now has the official nickname “Chicago,” performed his own composition, the “Chicken Soup Blues!”  I loved it!  He can’t sing, of course, but as far as I can tell neither could any of the classic Chicago bluesmen; and he certainly has mastered the style and the delivery.  I was honored and charmed to be there, and I devoutly hope that one of the several people who videotaped it will post the clip on YouTube, because it was amazingly funny!  If they do, I’ll post a link to it here.

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