Thursday, October 14, 2010
A Blue Night at Caroline’s
The collage of humanity in its entirety made its way to the jam. Now 76, he learned the blues at age 8, but his mamma told him ‘stay away from that devil’s music, it won’t do you no good.’ When he sings Hoochie Coochie Man, he means it. Then there’s the old trombone man, the only brass playing tonight. Looking like he fell off the circus wagon, he sips his beer frothily and slides notes mournfully into the gaps left open for him. He knows when to harmonize with Jimmy’s enigmatic blues harp, which holds the corners together when the heartbeat of the bass wanders down her own dark alley. With cat’s pivot, he blows the guitar man into his solo. Guitar Man’s licks echo down to the crossroads where devil’s music deals are made. A young gypsy woman with enough age lines on her round face from rough living jumps the stage to wail ‘but you know he is, everybody knows he is, oh you know he’s my hoochie coochie man.’ And the women she’s with shout “you know he is, girl…you know he is!’ It’s building…and building to the epiphany… Big O slaps his keyboard with his giant hands and nods to the guitar player for one last push from his strat. He works it, bending blue notes around the room and clear through the ceiling as the sweaty crowd converges with devil-be-gone yelps and hollers.