Thursday, March 1, 2012


What many of us were trying to do was generate some excitement in those days, and we found some in the Butterfield Blues band, whose first album generated plenty with a black drummer and bass player helping. They did the song "Born In Chicago." That was one that my prehensile blues band tried to play. We tried that one. We did this in the early seventies, when we discovered blues, and when we tried to play together. We practiced in the basement of a church. We were rock-and-rollers.
     We worshipped at the church of excitement. We also tried a few other songs; but it was difficult to get a bonafide stage act put together. I wanted to keep trying forever; but, the drummer and singer part came to my parents' house one day, and they told me they were quitting. What a thing for an eighteen year-old to hear standing on a three inch shag rug.
     No more blues? No more attempts to float in space via sound + song? Where was I to go? What was to become of me? It was my attitude that if we just kept trying, literally forever, where else was there to end up? We would have to end up in successville, or successful alley, or whatever the word would be -- also, we didn't care much about words in those days. To take myself, as the example, for me - in my particular case - words did not interest. Surely some of the established artists of the day had some mature things to say. That was for them; at our level the words were necessary because the music needs to be filled up. 
     Words were necessary because  of that need to fill out the music. I was aware of the older hippies, and their work. I was hearing it. I must have been. I liked Bob Dylan. How could I not be listening to the words? I just didn't worry about words very much in my own case, especially in application to what I had suggested we call "The Irwin Schwartz Blues Band." 
     Now, today, I have looked back to realize that it was a good name. At the time? Who knew? I already pointed out that we itched for excitement . There seemed to be plenty of this in those days. There was "rock," and "the blues" was as wild as rock, to tell you the truth.
     Of course, once you were really playing together, real adult things would follow, such as "gigs," concerts, things like that. Why the hell did they have to quit on me?
     I was really getting somewhere.


  1. Nice writing. In Brazil I discovered why we never paid attention to the words with a few exceptions (Dylan, the Doors, a few others). It is because most English words end in a consonant and one cannot sing a consonant, only a vowel. They say Italian is the language of opera because every word ends in a vowel. In Portuguese most words end in vowels and so it is very singable. Since it is easy to understand the words, the words become more important. I used to always be explaining to Brazilians that Americans (and Brits) do not understand the words either and we do not care so much. In Brazil, if the words are no good, a song is a failure.

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