Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Saturday, April 8, 2017

meeting a legend

 I like to watch the old television shows. I guess it has something to do with aging, we seek the familiar. My satellite company recently added a channel called INSP and it's motto is welcome home. They play shows like Little House, The Waltons and a bunch of the old westerns. I do get the feeling of being home. A couple days ago I was watching Matlock, one of my wife's favorite shows, you doesn't like Andy Griffith, and there was a special guest. This guest only appeared for a minute or two at the end of the episode, playing the guitar with Andy. That guest was Brownie McGhee ! With that a flood of memory was unleashed for me. You see, my best friend and I went to see Brownie McGhee with his partner Sonny Terry perform many years ago. One of a handful of live concerts I have attended.
 For those of you that may not be familiar with Brownie he was a blues guitarist and songwriter. I listened to him on vinyl records ! Yes, it was that long ago. The Midnight Special was the most popular of his recordings although I enjoyed them all. This was at a time when a young white boy had no business listening to an old black blues player. I didn't care what folks thought back then and still don't. Hey I liked Sly and the Family Stone too, music is music. I didn't know anything about being politically correct. Fact is I was a bit naïve about such things. I knew there were plenty of folks that held a less than a favorable view of black people but I figured that was there problem, not mine. Anyway, my friend and I saw an advertisement that Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee would be performing in Hampton Bays. The name of the venue escapes me now but it was a big old house that had been converted into a bar. We got our tickets and made preparations to attend.
 Now this was back in 1974 or so. As I said I wasn't overly, shall we say, socially aware. We figured we needed to be dressed properly for such an occasion. The Ladies Village Improvement Society in the town of East Hampton were we lived ran a second hand shop called the Bargain Box. East Hampton being a haven for the rich and famous the Bargain Box just naturally benefited. Those rich folks were always donating their unwanted stuff and there would be three piece suits galore. It was three piece suits, preferably pin striped and from the forties, that we were looking for. If we could get one of those and a matching fedora we would be all set. After all, we did want to look the part and fit in ! Looking back I can't help but laugh about all of that. In todays world the snowflakes would be melting and cries of racism would be lifted to the rafters. We just thought it was funny, no offense intended to anyone. Like I say, by todays standards, totally insensitive. But, we did get those suits and attend that concert. As I recall we had a great time, no one was offended and we may have been the only white folks in the place. No matter, we all enjoyed the music. I expect there was talk of the crazy white boys but we didn't hear it.
 The highlight of that night was getting to meet Sonny and Brownie. They sat at the table and shook hands with everyone that cared to. They traveled in a big old Cadillac and it was parked right out front. Sonny, in case you don't know was blind and Brownie was crippled up a bit. They laughed that the car was Sonny's' but he let Brownie do the driving. Sonny was a harmonica player and made his living playing a song for the play Porgy and Bess on Broadway. That was his biggest claim to fame. Together they made several albums and did solo work as well.
 All that came back to me in an instant when I saw him on the screen. I haven't listened to them in a while. It was a good journey down memory lane. It sure was a simpler time back then. We had a great time and made a wonderful memory. We even got to meet two legends of the Blues world, although we didn't know that at the time. I felt honored to have met them back then and more so today.