TALK TO THE DADDY

Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Remembering Hound Dog Taylor

Today, the daddy is feeling Hound Dog Taylor, the great slide guitarist out of Chicago, Illinois and the leader of the band "Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers. Yesterday, the daddy was over at the Undercover Black Man's blog. Seeing The Hound's photo with that wonderful smile took him back in the day.

The Hound, born Theodore Roosevelt in Natchez, Mississippi, was a disciple of Elmore James, perhaps the greatest slide guitarist of all times.
In 1971, he hooked up with Alligator Records founder Bruce Igalauer and recorded "Hound Dog Taylor and the House Rockers". It was the first CD on his label; and it was a hit. It was everything critics said: loud, harsh but exciting. But the daddy remembers him before then.

You see, in the late 60's and early 70,s, Every summer, the daddy, a young teenager then, would leave his home in Atlanta to live with his sickly aunt on South side of Chicago. Almost every weekend, he would go to "Jewtown." They called it Jewtown because many Jewish immigrants lived in that area. He went to Maxwell Street to shop and listen to the music, mainly blues.

The Hound," as he was called, seemed to always be there. And it seemed every one-- whites, blacks, musicians, out-of-town visitors-- would come by to say hello; and I remember him greeting everyone--male or female-- with " How you doin, honey? " or "How you doing, baby?"

He played loudly. He played passionately. He played with energy, with a jumping beat and a smile that made everyone smile and jump around. But he didn't just play loudly. At some point, he would play an Elmore James ballad like "The sky is crying" or "It hurts me too," or "I held my baby;" and it seemed that everyone would stop shopping and just listen.

Some would come back stand and watch him sing with such passion and solo with such a piercing intensity that it made people nod their heads and say-- when the song was over-- "That's the blues."
That was all that needed to be said, because they knew that someone like, say, Eric Clapton or Robert Cray, could play better technically. But for what the great harmonica player Little Walter called them "blues with a feeling," them blues that hit in the heart of your stomach, that move deep within the recesses of your soul, that take you all the back to gospels and spirituals and field hollers and trials and tribulations better left unspoken, you need that sky-crying, scorching sound and passionate soul of a bluesman or blueswoman like The Hound.. because, if you don't have them "blues with a feeling," you don't have the blues.

The daddy was one of those who would stop shopping and go back to watch The Hound sing a few words then slide a piece of pipe high on the register of his guitar, making it wail like a new-born babe. Once, during his rendition of Jame's "the sky is crying," the daddy stopped looking at him and began staring at his amp, thinking that soon it would start smoking, catch fire, and blow up. That's how hot The Hound's playing was.

The daddy would come back every other week to Jewtown, to Maxwell Street, to hear the sky cry just one more time before the summer was over, before he went back home to Georgia.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was good. But why you never do any post about jazz?

Anonymous said...

He must have been hot the way you go on!

CurvyGurl said...

Whew, MacDaddy! I hope there's no end of the year test...you've taught me too much to remember :).


Please stop by my spot when you have a chance, you've been tagged :) --

http://curvygurlchronicles.blogspot.com/2008/11/tuesday-taggin.html

sdg1844 said...

You just get better and better and I keep learning. :-). I wish that I could have these pioneers just gather round my table for one big jam session. I'd die happy.

MacDaddy said...

anon1: I've posted on Johnny Griffin, Shirley Horne, Nina Simone (twice, I think) and Billie Holiday. But if you're saying you would like me to do more on jazz, I hear you. I'll try.

anon2: I told you I wouldn't forget.

Curvygurl: I like it when you think of me. But I couldn't sleep last night. So I have to get to bed early. I'll check it tomorrow. Still loving your blog.

sdg: I'm so happy you love the post I go back in the day, or connect current events to history. Thanks for hanging with me.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

all i can say is that there is some good fiching in Natchez, Mississippi, what u know about that

MacDaddy said...

I too have heard that the fishing is great in that area. But I think blacks folk say it as a metaphor. The great fishes are the numerous great talents (the Muddy Waters, Magic Sams, the Magic Slims, the Lurrie and Carrie Bells, the Charley Pattons, Son Houses, etc.) that came out of Missippi, went up highway 69 to Chicago to make history. Luv u, bro.

Dan said...

I have all his albums from Alligator. The hound wasn't the best be he damn sure was fun.

Los Angelista said...

Oh wow, you took me back to my childhood when my auntie would take me bargain shopping in "Jew Town". That was a time and place that is so vivid in my mind. I used to love to go.

MacDaddy said...

Dan: To me, his albums are pretty good. I only wish you had gotten to see him person. Love your blog. Keep up the good work.

LosAngelista: I thought you might love this piece, because you recently visited Chicago this summer to see relatives, I believe. I'm so glad you saw this piece. The post meant a lot to me, because it was a big piece of my childhood. Thank you for reading it.