Learning from a master…..
My alter ego, Blues Man Little Bobo appears in this post thanks to the talent of John Gregson who took the photo. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but this old dog learned something new this week performing at Bailey’s Pub with some great musicians including four charter members of the RI Rhythm & Blues Preservation Society.
These four elderly African American Blues Men came to sit in with the band. My back was acting up real bad and if not for my commitment, I probably would have stayed home and sulked in self pity. I am so happy I choose to perform. Like the wonderful wife she has always been (and a damm good girlfriend before that), Miriam knew what was best for me and kept the pressure on me to perform.
One of the four original Blues Men was completely blind and had to be led to the drum kit before we began. He had great difficulty even walking and his three friends also wore the unmistakable mantle of a long and hard life.
So there we were. The club was rocking,the crowd was loud, the music was booming, especially in the middle of all the amplifiers crowded into a tiny space on stage. It was still 80 degrees in the club and humid and the band was dripping with sweat….just the way the blues should be enjoyed!
It was amazing and inspiring to see these old men share their gift freely without reservations, even in their later years. Amazingly after a few old classic songs my pain left me! As I sang and played my harp I took every opportunity to observe my band mates and witness the miracle of music and fellowship. The years seemed to melt away and the energy of youth replaced the physical trappings of age.
Don’t give up, ever. The next time I sense myself preparing for a pity party, I promise myself i will search for the picture of an eighty year old blind drummer laying down a slow blues beat with a smile ear to ear on his face.
Peace & Love,