Sunday, September 26, 2010

Goodbye Newport Blues: Issa's Sunday Service, #71








It's a slow blues Sunday with a song composed by one of our great 20th century poets, Langston Hughes. Here is the story behind "Goodbye Newport Blues":

In 1960 boisterous spectators created a major disturbance, and the National Guard was called to the scene. Word that the disturbances had meant the end of the festival, following the Sunday afternoon blues presentation headlined by Muddy Waters, reached poet Langston Hughes, who was in a meeting on the festival grounds. Hughes wrote an impromptu lyric, "Goodbye Newport Blues," that he brought to the Waters band onstage, announcing their likewise impromptu musical performance of the piece himself, before Waters pianist Otis Spann led the band and sang the Hughes poem.   Newport Jazz Festival, Wikipedia.

This performance by the great Otis Spann capped one of the most memorable sets of live blues ever recorded and released on record, Muddy Waters at Newport.   Legend has it when it came time to take a picture for the cover, Muddy grabbed the first guitar at hand, which happened to be John Lee Hooker's.  We are lucky enough to the have following performance captured not only on record, but on film.  Stick around for the encore to see Muddy do some amazing moves, including a sachet across the stage with James Cotton and his harmonica microphone wire:












Well, I guess we can't just stop there:











Here is a slightly abbreviated performance of "Hoochie Coochie Man" which, like the previous cut, captures Muddy's Delta Blues picking style translated to electric guitar:











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This week's feature poems, cause there's two, come from Lilliput Review #106, September 1999.  The first is timely, metaphorically, the second eternal, in every which way (and is presented in caps, as it was originally):



Recycled murky oils of ancient responses
Float on clear, liquid now
Preventing spirit from entering
James Livingston




ASPIRATION
THERE IS ONLY 
ONE SPACE 
THE UNIVERSE
THERE IS ONLY
ONE FLAG
THE PRAYER FLAG
THERE IS ONLY
ONE MIND
THE BIG MIND
THE BIG BEAUTIFUL MIND
Joe Staunton







in cherry blossom shade
there are even those
who hate this world
Issa
translated by David G. Lanoue 
 

4 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've read quite a lot of Hughes' poetry. Fine stuff.

Don Stabler said...

the Muddy Stuff was DYNAMITE

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, Hughes is one of the best - we have a Langston Hughes society in Pittsburgh, I'm happy to say ...

Don, glad you liked ... Muddy is always pretty amazing, but this definitely is way beyond amazing ...

Terry M. Oneil said...

Hughes is the best, the only thing to say