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.