Friday, January 28, 2005

"When you're blind, boy, it don't make no difference!"

I’ve always thought that it was silly—or at least pointless—to try to write about music when you could listen to it. With Blues and Gospel music, where the music is to be experienced more than listened to, writing about it is just about impossible, in my estimation. Still, I’ve come across a funny story that reveals a lot about one of my Blues Heroes, Reverend Gary Davis (aka Blind Gary Davis, born April 30, 1896 in Laurens, South Carolina, died on May 5, 1972 in Hammonton, New Jersey) that I have reprinted below, excerpted from the Reverend Gary Davis web site:

Back in 1963, I had just started playing country blues, and was getting guitar lessons from any bluesman that would hold still long enough, including Mississippi John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis. Usually I managed to corner them backstage at gigs, and was persistant enough to get them to show me a lot of stuff. Of course they were being very kind to me in the bargain!
One night, I went to a coffee house in Philadelphia called "The Second Fret" to hear Rev. Davis perform. "Backstage" there was really upstairs, up a tight spiral staircase, with just room enough for one person at a time to pass. Now, as the Reverend was coming down the stairs, an attractive young woman was trying to go up. As she approached Rev. Davis, she piped, "'Scuse me, Reverend!" He at once reached out and accurately seized her by the buttocks, saying, "Did you say, 'Squeeze me, Reverend?'" Ignoring her outraged squeals, he managed to rub the entire length of his body against hers as she pushed past him. He then turned and seized the next person coming up the stairs in the same manner, who cried out, "Reverend, I'm a guy!" Rev. Davis did not immediately remove his hand, saying, "When you're blind, boy, it don't make no difference!" Rick Blaufeld


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