It’s a blustery but pretty Saturday, which somehow inspired me to start streaming an old Albert King number. Maybe it’s the frequency of news about California, due to the fiery destruction of NorCal wine country, that brought the song to mind. Here’s “Travelin’ to California.” It’s from nineteen sixty-one, but I encountered it looonng after that.
I often sing the blues. My version is the first world blues. I’m blue about the state of the world, environmental concerns, human rights. I’m also blue ’bout computer issues and awful television shows while simultaneously, hypocritically decrying our consumer society. I’m blue because I love auto racing and hate its economic and environmental impact. I’m blue because while I have plenty to eat, my metabolism has slowed and I can’t eat all the foods I want all the time. I’m blue because my hair is thinning and graying even while I know I’m in a pretty damn good place. I’m blue because I’m a basket of contradictions and because my cats don’t get along better. And the blues strike, too, because I’m pretty healthy while so many friends and loved ones suffer from health issues. I sing the blues because there are too many people who seem evil for the sake of being evil and care about no one but themselves.
That’s why I sing the blues. That’s why I’m thankful for an era where we had folks like B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Etta James, Albert King, Doctor John, Phil Collins, Robert Cray, Paul Butterfield and more to lift me out of the blues via that terrible technology that I love and hate.
Here they are, strong of voice, at the top of their skills, performing ‘Why I Sing the Blues’.
This isn’t a theme song. I could tell you that I chose this song because it’s rainy, cold and foggy outside. Or it’s Thursday and this song fits Thursday’s vibe.
It’s none of that, though. I just like the blues, Albert King, and this song. Play it. Listen to that playing and singing. Appreciate it and play it back in your head later.
Here’s the late Albert King with ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’.