This week’s piece is by David Jowitt, a regular attendee of The Anon Writers. David writes short stories and poetry, and isn’t afraid to experiment with new forms of writing. He nicknamed the group Jazz Club on account of the eclectic soundtrack in Starbucks where we meet!
Howling The Blues by David Jowitt
I was not born in the Mississippi Delta nor Chicago, and I am not descended from the children of Africa, unless you count the very first humans who according to scientists were from Africa and the ultimate ancestry of everyone in the world. Neither can I to any reasonable degree claim to be raised in poverty. There has always been food on my table and I have usually gotten what I wanted for Christmas.
But every Monday evening I churn out an old Blues song that I have speedily learnt on the bus to a pub six miles from my hometown. The song never exceeds three chords and rarely deviates from the 12-bar structure. I bring with me a guitar that is badly tuned and was made in Japan or China and not in Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory in Michigan. The impromptu house band are usually unfamiliar with the songs I play. I sometimes forget or speedily make up a lyric that I was unable to recognise when its first bluesman growled it and the audience are probably more interested in the Acoustic folk player with the oh-so-nice voice and the oh-so-pretty face who goes on after me with all the advantage of skill and talent that I seem to have forgotten.
And yet after a few beers, and when I have done a few sloppy solos, and when I have got to that blazing moment on that final B chord, I sing with that greatest howl and play with ferocious enthusiasm and damned be those who can play accurately on their 400 pound custom-built Gibson Les Paul. I can really play with passion, and sing like nobody is listening.
And it is at these points where I really believe that I am feeling that emotion that Muddy Waters had, or Robert Johnson, or Bessie Smith, that emotion that the very first bluesperson had when they looked up at the sun from the field they were working in, then looked down at the earth they were plowing and knew that all they could do and all they had to do was holler and then from down the kicked earth they would rise up and transcend everything, and the only title anyone has ever found that can adequately describe this emotion is ‘The Blues’.
Read more by David Jowitt on The Anon Writers: