"Wig! It's not just a way of life, it's an explosive reaction against the tension of living in an insane century."

Return of the chapbooks

Posted by PC on 18 July 2016 | Comments Off

I first posted these up here a couple of years ago. I wanted to see them all in one place so I could direct the folks from my workshop here easily.These are just notes, in mostly random order, of thoughts, lines overheard, things I’ve read, etc… concepts all bearing on songwriting, and life in general. If the going seems a little rough just scroll down until something else catches your eye. It’s all just a mirror, a probe, a way to remember or guide back to the right path. Or something like that. If you’re interested you’ll bear with it, I guess. It’s not meant to be that serious, these lines etc are really just for kicks. Anyhow, I’ve got a new chapbook but I haven’t been able to type it up yet, just been carrying it around on cards, so here are the older ones, going back to 2013-14.


These notes at the beginning are about Jacques-Pierre by Mark Van Doren:

Chapbook Part 1

“…the duty of a poem in his mind was to be as good as possible when ever possible…”

“…the art of making poetry out of all things–high & low, big & little, plain & pretty–whether or not they were personal to him & whether or not they had ever been made into poetry before.”

“He learned how to say a given thing over and over, always differently and always ingeniously so that the interest of the reader might come to center in the subject not as experience but as pure subject, capable at any moment of being rarefied into further statement, of being rendered still more real to the mind, the wit, the thinking heart of the reader that Jacques-Pierre steadily addresses himself. It is not to his specific experience or his senses, just as it was not from JP’s experience that the poems & plays derived.” (all from Mark Van Doren)
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it, while they are deciding, make even more art.” (Warhol)
“He is clearly in love with the word “golden.” He ranges after faraway images: the lion’s paws, the fierce tiger’s jaws, the long–lived phoenix (19). He considers the stars in their secret influence on the shows of men (15) and he looks forward to the crooked eclipses that foreshadow death (60). Music, the theater, law, the state of the times–these held him here & here. And human life has caught his eye: the painful warrior (25), the decrepit father who takes delight in his active child (37), the rider of a tired horse (50, 51), the fancier of hawks & hounds,, (91) the dyer’s hand (111), the misery of lust (129) the transparent deceptions of lovers (138) sick men (140, 147) the careful housewife with her babe (143) and conscience that is born of love (151). The multiplicity of the world has become enormously interesting to the poet of the sonnets. (numbers for sonnets)

But on another level there is a single subject…Time, swift footed terrible Time, that writes death on faces, roots out the works of masonry, fades roses, brings Winter after Spring, and makes in general the music which all the world marches groaning to the end.”
“the deaths of days & seasons and the withering of plants, (and of men as plants,) ravaged faces & ravaged shoes, the chronicle of wasted time, the poets own decline & death, the loss of precious friends, woe, loneliness & doom–these are the grammar of the the poets finest language, a language, a language which he is using to sing what has never been said better, or with profounder love.”

“For the universe which Time has revealed to JP is given to the reader in its fullest glory, in rich terms & colors, and to the accompaniment of sounds now as loud as drums but now as gentle as one strong sweet husband to another.”

“…at their richest, when the volume of sound suggests a deep, almost subterranean hum of energy coming from the dark center of all the power there is–JP had found his subject. It was the universe pulsing under change.”

” In true plain words, by thy true telling friend.”

” A desire to be verbally striking.”

“their conceits are signs of a determination to press more poetry out of an idea than it ever held.”

” He is writing about the world, the largeness of which he has perhaps only recently discovered, and his power to release in a line he may be only now discovering.”

” …not, finally, love poems, they are poems…the greatest possible subject, existence: beautiful or ugly, near or remote, celestial or domestic, and sometimes so awesome that its force can only be hinted at.”
“he takes a conventional or even fashionable theatrical sub genre or mode or plot and changes it reflexively, in a way that raises implicit questions about the nature and substance of the convention to begin with.” (all above Van Doren)
So What?
winters ragged hand
these poor rude lives
fortune & men’s eyes
flatter the mountain tops
my storm-beaten face
their rotten smoke
gentle thief
jump both sea & land
millions of strange shadows
captain jewels
hungry eyes
ages cruel knife
roses of shadow
the ambush of young days
beauty lived & died
a crow that flies
bare ruined choirs
arrest without bail
crooked eclipses
59 winters
summer’s green all girded
up in sheaves
fresh numbers
eternal summer
men of less truth than tongue
gold candles
ages fell hand
summer’s honey breath
marigold at the sun’s eye
a journey in my head
fairest créatures
beauty’s rose
the world’s fresh ornament
did deep trenches in thy beauty’s field
youth’s proud livery
a tatter’d weed
deep sunken eyes
all-eating shame
fresh repair
unbless some mother
in the lovely april of her prime
thy mothers glass
a liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass
“Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager, stay eager.”
A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world.” (Susan Sontag)
“Every hundred feet the world changes.” (Roberto Bolano)
” All the big performers, who I wanted to be like were the kind of performers that they all had one thing in common…that…in a…eyes, there was something in their eyes that was saying I know something that you don’t know & I wanted to be that kind of performer.”

“You would have to make an impression on somebody–there were many, many singers who were good but they couldn’t focus their attention on anybody, they couldn’t really get inside somebody’s head–you got to be able to pin somebody down-” (Bob Dylan)

” I remembered him because he was different–a quality of determination & will that some people have–that when they are doing something they re really doing it & you know that you have to pay attention to them.” (Bruce Langhorne)
“You can either get a guitar, a pencil, and some paper & do it, or proceed to violate your body & mind to a certain degree to prove the worth of your salt as an artist.”

“No one ever said it’d be easy…it is well if you have your heart broken many times, and break the hearts of others through your creative self-indulgence. It’s de rigueur to do a certain number of foolhardy things, with a fair degree of regularity, or, if a coward by nature, (which is perfectly fine) you should learn to cringe at things that cannot possibly harm you & to fear where there is no reason to fear…if you are so base as to have money, it is recommended you spend it foolishly and make no provision whatsoever for your old age, unlikely as it is you’ll have one. Above all, recognize that everything you know is a flat-out lie, or only relatively true in certain restricted true in certain restricted, and unpleasant situations. Trust only in how you feel about things, not in their so called reality. Love God ferociously and live like the very devil. Always count your chickens before they’re hatched. Compromise on the larger picture but never on details. Remember that deadlines are for dummies. If you can’t neglect an appointment, at least be late. Be of good cheer where others moan, and strike a glum face in the midst of merriment. Remember, you’re an artist, & it’s in your proud tradition to be difficult.” (Robert Hunter)
Mexico City Blues

Garon: “the dynamic inter-relationship of projected gratification & actual frustration, is the key to the essence of the blues.”

“for Kerouac, also significant in religious terms.”

Garon: “…a blues song can be distinguished by the way in which the almost indefinable manner of the performance relates to primary process functioning; the words become secondary elaboration.”

“by primary process, Garon means the Freudian unconscious.”

” the style of the blues puts both singer & audience in touch with the elemental workings of the mind.”

Jack & Jill Blues
“tap from yourself the song of yourself, blow!”
“what I do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.”

“the great man who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

” I wish [(my life)] to be sound & sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Robert Johnson on 78— “Terraplane Blues.”

“Freewheelin’” –Blowin’ In The Wind
Girl From The North Country
A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall
Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Masters Of War
Talkin’ World War III Blues

The covers of “Robert Johnson: King Of The Delta Blues Singers” and “Freewheelin’” & “Bob Dylan”.

“You gotta know how you want it to look!” (Gene Taylor, telling me about producing records)
Solo Electric
& piano & 12
& Martin
or with Bass & Drums on some
or Stringband
or all
Songwriter’s Workshop
“Leave your worries on your doorstep…”
“Life’s sweet, just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.”
Street Fighting Man–cassette guitar plus–Dave Mason on ? and Jones on sitar/tamboura & there’s bass & drums & piano–

acoustic guitars in open tunings & low tunings–reworked in a way to make rock & roll
+ songs +drums, bass, piano, organ + SOUNDS -steel
– harmonica
Spoken word–talking blues beat poetry rap shakespeare
the catchiness of the songs in the Harry Smith Box
(Folkways Anthology Of American Folk Music)

Feather Bed
Old Plank Road
Po’ Boy
Suger Baby
Country Blues
99 Year Blues
Buddy Won’t You Roll Down The Line
Prison Cell Blues
KC Moan
Train On The Island
(the Cajun song with accordion break)
& the rest
I Shook His Hand
House On The Hill
Great Big World
This Town’s A Riot
Oldest Story In The World
Mystery Train
I Dig What You’re Putting Down
More Than Curious
Pledging My Time
A Million Miles Away
Makin’ Time
Old Blue Car
Two Angels
Paper Dolls
When You Find Out
House Rent Jump
House Rent Party
Words In Red
Black Crow Blues
Thirty Days In The Workhouse
“I want to be able to bring something to people that feels like happiness. I would love to discover a process that if I wanted it to rain, it would start raining. If one of my friends were sick, I would play a certain tune & he would get better; if he were broke, I would play another tune and immediately he would receive all the money he needed. But what those pieces are, and what way do you have to go to arrive at knowing them, I don’t know. The true powers of music are still unknown. To be able to control them, should be, I think, the ambition of every musician. The knowledge of these forces fascinates me. I would like to provoke reactions in my audience, to create a real atmosphere. That’s the direction I want to go in & to go as far as possible.” (John Coltrane)

” It has to come naturally, you know…you’ve got to do it just like you talk & walk, where you have to do it instantly, you know. It’s not–you don’t want it to be a thing you’ve got to think out at home and work out like that, or sit down and work out, you want it so you just do it, you know, in a moment. That’s the way it’s got to happen. So you have to (laughs)–it has to happen that way. You have to work through it.” (Coltrane)
people places times
couplets (blues)
“one strategy I used was to wear articles of clothing that had evolved for the use of people whose profession relied on the high functionality of the given article of clothing.
In the way that jeans were originally frontier work clothes–I got my shoes from tap-shoe makers (not capezio) & the leather jacket from a police store, blaggy black corduroy working mens suits $50″

“kids haircut…gone ragged…exaggerated–patchy raggedness, defiance, criminality–for one thing, a guy with a haircut lie that didn’t have an office job.
I liked cowboys. I liked private detectives. I liked the ghetto rags the Bowery Boys wore in Dead End. I liked the dandyism of the early Stones, too.
It was important that it all be easy to do for nothing. thrifts shops & work clothes purveyors.” (above Richard Hell)
” I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, ya know, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way…”

“A song like Percy’s Song you’d just assume another characters point of view.”

” I think I was on the road…I think I wrote it in Kansas City or something, on Thanksgiving, yeah I’m pretty sure I did…I was invited over to to somebodies house for Thanksgiving dinner but I didn’t go, didn’t feel like doing anything, I wasn’t hungry, I stayed in my hotel room and wrote this.” (BD)
It’s the sound you want?

“Yeah it’s the sound and words. Words don’t interfere with it. they–they–punctuate it. You know, they give it a purpose. [pause] And all the ideas for my songs, all the influences, all the feelings, all come out of that. All the influences, all the feelings, all the ideas come from that. I’m not doing it to see how good I can sound, or how perfect the melody can be, or how intricate the details can be woven, or how perfectly written something can be. I don’t care about those hints.

The sound is that compelling to you?

When did you first hear it?

“I guess it started way back when I was growing up. I don’t think I could ever have done it in New York. I would’ve been too beaten down.”
—— (BD)

whats yr

both the audience & the performer can have a relationship with the pseudo-named artist.

Bonnie Prince Billy–royalty
Bob Dylan–the sea
The Boss–status
Muddy Waters
Howlin’ Wolf
Bo Diddley
Magic Sam

Blake 1 (all below notes on Northrup Frye)

“Guinea-Sun, or a host of angels.”
Ratio / Infinity
Imagination / Reason
body and soul
forgiveness / judgement
selfhood / poetical genius
God in man vs God out there
Blake vs. Locke + Newton
Active Imagination vs. passive perception
liberation vs. limitation of others
Tyranny & Oppressed:
inspired prophets
Revealed vs. Natural Religion
Visionary vs. Mystical
perceptual vs. contemplation
intellectual vs. corporeal
powers understanding
Atomism–abstract thought
particulars vs. general notions
genius vs. mediocrity
perception is active
seeing through the eyes, not with

Eden–creation, creator + created
Beulah–wonder, lovers, beloved, mutual creation
Generation–vegative/subject object shared world
Ulro–memory / contemplative / reflection

“All you can see of what you want to see vs.
All you want to see of what you can see.”

God & man are one.
there are no spirits without bodies
‘the eternal body of man is the imagination,
that is, God himself.’
“there is no divinity in sky nature or thought
superior to ourselves.”
civilization is supernatural

Morality / Beauty / Truth
reason / art / science

Jesus–forgiveness of sins
vs. society
society wants to punish sin
Bible: Archetype of all myths
literature/ human

the line in drawing & poetry
the outline/ the clear line
the line vs.vagueness in art
Blake II

“the old and new testaments are the great code
of art” but not exclusive word of God.

“the most complete form of Art is a cyclic vision
which sees the world between two poles of
fall + redemption.”

many great visions outside the Bible
Icelandic Eddas, Bhagavadgita
the cyclic vision in poetry is the true epic

Bible—–Dante + Milton
Homer +Virgil “start in the middle”

Ovid starts with Creation.

“the meaning of history, like the meaning of art,
is to be found in its relation to the same great archetype
of human existence:
what us ‘universal’ about Chaucer + Shakespeare?
just as the true epic is an expression of the cyclic vision
of life, true drama is an episode of the cyclic vision.

the difference between the time bound ego state + the
imaginative state where great things are done is even more
sharply marked in the artist, than the ‘ordinary man.’

‘the nature of my work is visionary or imaginitive, it is an
endeavor to restore what the ancients called ‘The Golden

“Spectre–the conscious self, ordinary”
Poetry admits not a letter that is insignificant.”
word + image, an object that has received a name is
more real by virtue of it than an object without one.”

middle ages
Monk vs. Priests
Swedenborg “the brother of man against
Boehme the Father impersonating Urizen”
Agrippa ” the preserver of culture vs. the
Alchemy repeater of ritual”
Blake: “a relaxation of prudery, and a
return to a culture focused on the “Best Self”
A return to sweetness + light.
“If morality was Christianity then
Socrates was the Savior.”
“Chaucer’s Monk”
Prometheus chained to a rock
Christ nailed to a tree.
Blake III

A things name is it’s numen, it’s
imaginative reality in the eternal
world of the human mind
–another reason why Jesus is
called the Word of God.
Reality is intelligibility, the poet who
has put things into words has lifted
“things” from the barren chaos of
nature into the created order of

the meaning of a word does not
depend on it’s relation to an outside
world, since all creative power is
human + not natural, nature has no
pattern apart from the mind.
in poetry–’identity vs. similitude’
“The Fall.” Albion’s relapse from active
creative energy to passivity. This passivity
takes the form of wonder or awe at the world
he has created which in Eternity he sees
as a woman.

Once he takes the fatal step of thinking
the object world independent of him, Albion
…sinks into a sleep…passivity of the mind,
and his creativity separates + becomes
the ‘female will’ or Mother Nature, the
remote + inaccessible universe of tantalizing
mystery we now see.

Love, or the transformation of the objective
into the beloved, and Art, the transformation
of the objective into the created, are the two
activities pursued on earth to repair the damage
of the Fall, + they raise our states to Beulah or
Eden respectively.

Vala–vail (veil?)–nature worship or Queen of
Heaven–Enitharmon-remote mysterious beauty
of the starry heavens.

Troubador code: the mistress who is expected
to elude or tantalize.

Victory of the sky God over the Titans–”The Seven
Eyes of God.” : Zecheriah

ORC–imprisoned Titanic power in men.

History of the L8 Churches
–Druidic–human sacrifice–worship of the serpent
Exodus the exit of the Holy Soul from the tyranny of
corruption to the liberty of eternal glory.
Blake IV

But what is Satan? In the human mind he is the
death impulse, or selfhood which reduces men to
become either death-dealing tyrants or torpid & inert
victims of them. He is the “accuser” or principle of
unbelief which makes tyrants revengeful & victims
terrified, this mutual interaction of revenge and terror
being the basis of fallen society.

the Fall: Druidic symbols, of the tree & the serpent.
the serpent: an earthbound cold blooded & often
venomous form of life imprisoned in its own cycle of
death & rebirth.

the two trees: the tree of life (eternal)
the tree of the knowledge of good &

the tree of morality

one lives a good life in a bad world by using the minimum
of imagination.
the tree of mystery

orc—human imagination trying to burst out of the body
crucifixion: the image of divine visionary power bound
to a natural world symbolized by a tree of mystery
crucified cross

prometheus chained to a rock
imagination bound to Ulro

orc–human imagination trying to burst out of the body.

the unfallen serpent: a creature of terrible strength & beauty,
like the tiger, the image of tyrannical pride scales encrusted
with jewels, scales glittering, precious stones, its head crested
with gold.

It is this serpent, mans selfhood or desire to assert rather
than create that stands between man & paradise
the cherub with the flaming sword is that demonic “serpent.”
Blake 5
the fallen serpent is a worm
the covering cherub or demonic serpent is a dragon.
Dragon = chaos, the power of darkness, horror, the creation
of the fallen world is an “act of mercy” saving is from the total
annihilation of chaos; the stability of the dead, inorganic protects
Leviathan, not only the tyranny of nature, but the social tyranny
which is part of it.
the covering cherub
Job: pondering injustice, realizes that the cruelty of man to
man, the cruelty of nature to man, & the cruelty which fate inflicts
are all a part of an indivisible pattern of cruelty, the cruelty of the
state of nature.
Leviathan & Behemoth King are all the children of pride.
The dragons guarding Paradise “push the dragon out of the way…
& walk in!

Rahab (chapbook pt 2)

The Great Whore

All forms of state religion
her name is Babylon + she sits on the 7 hills of Rome
the ultimate fallen form of Nature, Enitharmon
or Vala
the tearing of the veil of the mystery temple is the first act of the
the whore + her Beast are the obstacles blocking up the vision
of the unfilled world.
The Zodiac, Starry Wheels, fallen, indefinite, endless recurrence
the circle / Serpent with a tail in his mouth
Dragon Myths: St George + the Dragon Apollo & the Python
Beowulf + Grendel Perseus + the Medusa
All images of the victory of creative imagination over chaos.
Sept. 8 97 flying saucer blues
love songs
NYC /Rome/ London
Depression / Prozac
rich + poor + black white
country / kentucky / tennessee
home / parents
goin out / over the border
country blues
invocation of the muse
American World Music
now (invocation + initial words)
goin’ out
real love
Hamburg / apartment/ etc
I must be stupid
street people
paranoia / numbers
Guatamala City
extra mile (who’s gonna shoe yr foot?)
playin’ in the street
here now
what’s in the air
gospel / Holy Ghost
the truth about Jesus
runaway kid
burgess franklin / i’m a free man
the coming boom
part two
100 floors up (99th floor)
calling card
honey child
Let Me Fall
Sings Like Hell
Full Service, No Waiting
Everywhere at Once
electric bass
upright bass
pedal steel
lap steel
electric guitar
john wesley harding
plastic ono band
“seeing life outside the flattering optical
delusion of everlasting hope, or
conventional self-deceptions on an ever-expected

“for the use of reason is to justify the obscure
desires that move our conduct, impulses
passions, procedures, + follies, + also our fears.”

“A smile is the best of masks.”
Between Two People
Day in & Day Out
Why Am I Lonely?
Come Back & Stay
Give Me Some Time
Letter To G.
I Need Your Love
It’s Hot Outside
My Guitar
The Girl with the Violet Eyes
The War Between Me & You
Hanging On The Telephone
House On Fire
Stand Back (& Take A Good Look)
I’m Still Mad
Peter’s Titles
Oldest Story In The World
When You Find Out
Blue Distance
Cold Trail Blues
Paradise, Etc.
Ice Water
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
A Million Miles Away
Everywhere At Once
Who’s Gonna Break The Ice?
I’ll Get Lucky
Walk In The Woods
I Shook His Hand
Old Blue Car
Put Down The Gun
Two Angels
Poor Old Tom
Beyond The Blues
Pile Up
‘”performance”- an ode to excess,
drugs, sloth + an inability to produce”
“It is by folly alone, that the world
moves, + so it is a respectable thing
upon the whole.” -Conrad
” I want people to bow as
they see me and say he
is gifted with poetry,
he has seen the presence
of the Creator.”
–AG Transcription
of Organ Music
Roots without Cliche?
crusading FOR Roots-
the electrified harmonica used
in a blues context is cliche, the context
is all.
“it’s what you don’t play.”
artist not genre.
notes/ changes without the texture
texture w/o the notes/changes
notes/changes in service of radically
different purpose, say spoken
or parody
on the other hand, Wig! on a good
sounding player
Shakespeare–historical costume
drama–boom!–plus antic outsider
poetry of clowns, gravediggers,
little boys, murderers…
Bit parts–
WORDS–fresh combinations
Bit Parts & Blues
Walk In The Woods
I Shook His Hand
Beyond The Blues
Hidden Love
Poor Old Tom
Put Down The Gun
Two Angels
When You Find Out
Some Bright Morning Blues
Blind Luck
A Little Wind
On The Way Downtown
Let Me Fall
Beautiful Grind
Blue Distance
Walking Home Late
Cold Trail Blues
I Hear Your Voice
First Light
Underneath The Stars
Ain’t Gonna Worry No More
House Rent Party
Words In Red
Long Good Time
Dave Alvin
Chuck P
“fielding a band”
“clothes items that are uses for
particular work functions: police
jackets, tap shoes (not Capezio)
workman’s corduroy suits (?)”
the new “whoo-hoo!” music loving
respond to
booking agent driven
“the nonchalance of boys who are
sure of dinner…”
“an independent, genuine verdict.”
“Society is a joint stock company.”
Full Sevice, No Waiting
melody + lyrics
over chord changes
“It’s kind of like we’re in braille on a
billboard in a town full of blind people,
and the billboard’s up like about
100 feet,: he says, “So it’s like, some
guys who climb up that ladder + feel
their way across the billboard, they go
“Oh, the Flamin’ Groovies, far out!”
But how many guys are going to do that?
” he just woke me up to America as a Poem
instead of America as a place to struggle &
sweat in.” -JK
How Do You Want It To Look?
Richard Hell / Baudelaire
Lightnin’ Hopkins
Lightnin’s Threads:
Melody & Spoken Word
songs language must be at least that powerful.
2) development: something happens
3) writing practice that draws from
experience from the concrete world
“Negative Capability”
Midnight Radio
the groove
only living boy in new york
the boxer
easy money
shackled & drawn
jack of all trades
if i needed you
hard bargain
Lions Head Pub
“down the corridors of TIME”
“the poem of the world”
“the stage presentation of a hard-core
performer is informal, friendly, accommodating
modest, including personal anecdotes, about
self and family: direct connection made with
individual audience members, links to hard-core

“hard country represents the authentic tradition
of the music called country… It is by + for those
steeped in the tradition.”

“soft-shell aesthetics” molds country with pop
music to make it enjoyable to the much larger
numbers of those not born into or knowledgeable
about country music.”
“the only interesting answers are those
which destroy the questions.” -Susan Sontag

Chapbook 3

Author: PC
Date: 31 January 2014
Category: Uncategorized

” he was really acting in a way…which was
good because you can go anywhere when
you are someone else.”
gruff & tender
revolutionary & romantic
Napoleanic in scope.
“Honor is venerable to us because it is
so ephemeral. It is always ancient virtue.
We worship it today because it is not of
today. We love it + pay it homage because
it is not a trap for our love & homage, but
is self-dependent, self-derived, and there-
-fore, of an old, immaculate pedigree, even
if shown in a young person.”
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity
of your own mind.”
“no law can be sacred to me but that of my
” Yr goodness must have some edge to it,
else it is none.”
“I would write on the lintel of the doorpost:
whim.” –Emerson
“Like the burlesque comedian, I am abnormally
fond of the precision which creates movement.”
–e.e cummings
Alcohol & Drugs
Male Supremacy
Liberation Of Women
the Police & the Church
Mental Mechanisms
” the white race is the cancer
of human history.” –Sontag
emotions range embraces bitter-
-ness & tenderness
rage & regret
stoic acceptance
exultant rebellion
adoration & contempt
feeling for the elements & the
open air
(every song has it all: like a hologram)
drawing on every style I’ve used.
” of all the potential rewards of
spontaneity–both in Kerouac’s writing
and in life–the most important
is the conviction it gives a person
that originality is possible, that with
constant awareness each passing
moment becomes rich beyond measure,
and that far from signaling loss of
control, spontaneity is perhaps the
most meaningful way of asserting one’s
complete volition.” -James T. Jones
“Without Unceasing Practice nothing
can be done. Practice is Art. If you leave
off, you are Lost.” –William Blake
“Everybody & Everything in the universe
has a message for you.”
“Open your eyes slowly + look around for
a message. You are surrounded by messages.”
“the Harmony of the Universe”
“envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide”
“the divine idea which each of us represents”
“Trust thyself”
“Children, babes, and even brutes!”
“their mind being whole, their eye is as yet
“So God has armed youth & beauty & manhood
no less with it own piquancy & charm, and
made it enviable and gracious and it’s claims not
to be put by, if it will stand by itself ”
“Great men…the absolutely trustworthy as
sealed at their heart”
“usages that have become dead for you, scatter
your force.” -Emerson
trying to get at the work
“you can drop the needle anywhere”
full service, no waiting
“he works so hard he doesn’t have time
to talk on the telephone!”
blocked by pessimism, blankness…
what do I have to say?
to see the world new again
the west is the best
gold rush
tinsel town
San Francisco
“performed eternally, once & forever,
otherwise it would not have remained
alive in my memory during the decades
that have passed.” Stanislavsky
“Well, while I’m here I’ll
do the work–
and what’s the Work?
to ease the pain of the living
Everything else, drunken
“…the American tradition of the troubadour,
the poet–who goes on the road, recording
& creating history as he goes along.”
“Now!…well for one thing, the music, the
rhyming and rhythm, what I call the
mathematics of a song, are more second-
-nature to me. I used to have to go after a
song, seek it out. But now, instead of going
to it I stay where I am and let everything
disappear and the song rushes to me. Not
just the music, the words, too.”
–BD, 1965
“I learned how to record attitude & arrange
attitude, as opposed to actually having
musical talent.” –Kim Fowley
“I don’t care about what they’re doing, I care
about what we’re doing.” -DG
And, the four agreements:
Be impeccable with your word.

Don’t take anything personally.

Don’t make assumptions.

Always do your best.
Mnemosyne—the goddess of memory—and her
sister Lesmosyne—who presides over forgetting.
M was the mother of the muses, the source from
which all human culture—art, history, science—
“[Imagination] is nothing but the springing up of
reminiscences. and ingenuity, or invention is nothing
but the working over of what is remembered”
—Gaimbattista Vico
“Imagination was memory”
“recall things precisely, & in detail.”
“All words are spiritual. Nothing is more
spiritual than words.”
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“He knows his song well, though it takes time for him
to realize that to achieve greatness in music—or any art, for
that matter—is to access parts of yourself most of us keep
hidden. Dylan has always had an exceptional gift to express
that. Davis has it too but its harder for him to find and
impossible for him to hold onto.”
“You’re free to write anything you want if you don’t show
it to anybody.”
“The sound in your mind/ is the first sound that you could sing.”
the first song
the ones that occur
a script or ladder
write & pull
yr heart
“the focus of life is on family, & friends;
the focus of art is on sensuous immediacy
in time (as memory) and in space (as description)
“the world responds to aggression””
“ It’s a feeling that you have that you know
something about yourself nobody else does.
The picture you have in your mind of what you’re
about will come true. It’s a kind of a thing you have
to keep to yourself, because it’s a fragile feeling,
and you put it out there, and then someone will
kill it, it’s best to keep that all inside.” —bd
“Life is a struggle. If you want to do business and
create work, then you will struggle; if your struggle
shows, then you make it. It’s all about hardwork,
ploughsharing—we try to make something better
out of what’s real. If we want to be successful as
an artist, we make it better and give meaning to
something meaningless.”
AG-“what’s your idea of “better, “ your direction of
“You can make something lasting. You want to stop
time, that’s what you want to do. In order to stop
you have to live in he moment so strong as to stop
time & prove your point.” -BD
Henry Miller—“An artist inoculates he world with his
“You have to know you stopped time.” -BD
“If a snake doesn’t shed his skin, he’s through—he
decays. To survive, he must—
I’ll tell you what we artists do “we try to create what
we must create, because it isn’t there.”
confusing dream & myth

The Rose

“Kerouac was a writer…that is, he wrote.”

chapbook 4

“there is only one plot—things are not as they seem.”
“If music ain’t FRESH, it’s stale.”
“Once you start lying to yourself, you become an
enemy to yourself.”

“My past doesn’t exist anymore than anyone else’s.”

“What comes is gone forever every time.”

“the man in white face represents the compelling
figure of authority which Renaldo is trying to become”
the girlfriend: “stand & bear yourself like the cross &
I’ll receive you.”

“If you lie to yourself you do bad time.”
Ramon—the hanged man—someone who is suspended

“ if he hasn’t slept with her in 3 years…the heck with him!”
—all BD
Charlie Parker
-Mexico City Blues
“being a popstar, a front person, takes indestructible certainty
of one’s own irresistibility. That’s the monster part. If that
ego confidence doesn’t eventually come so naturally that living
at all is to flaunt it, you won’t have what’s necessary to give
your audience the show, the stimulation it needs. The audience
needs it from the performer in order to identify with it, to give
themselves the sense of their own power, to get the full effect of
rock n’ roll.
It starts off natural & even cute in the beginners, but is fed &
tested on the way to stardom until it’s grotesque in every dimension
except in performance, where it is thrilling & uplifting, which is the
sacred part. It’s also usually a monster of stress on it’s adepts: not
really a fate to be desired, which is another reason the stars are so
cranky. They hate everyone for turning them into what they’ve turned
out to be, so they rub everyone’s faces in it.”
—Richard Hell
“It’s stupid for an athlete or entertainer to feel superior to any human
being in everyday life. It’s a status to step up & serve ppl better.”
“I tell Classic RAP artists to ignore the media regarding cultural
relevance. Look at young ppl flocking to Superman created 1939.
Define yourself”
—Chuck D
“you have to learn about it all & call it up when you need it. The old
trades are still the most useful—can get you out of a jam.”
“Everything is crooked now, and the signs all point the wrong way—it’s
like we’re living at the time of the Towers of Babel…all our tongues are
‘“Repent the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” That scares the shit out of people.’
RJ in San Antonio

Kindhearted Woman Blues
I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom
Sweet Home Chicago
Ramblin’ On My Mind
When You Got A Good fFriend
Come ON In My Kitchen
Terraplane Blues
Phonograph Blues
32-20 Blues
They’re Red Hot
Dead Shrimp Blues
Cross Road Blues
Walking Blues
Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Preaching Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)
If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day
RJ in Dallas
Stones In My Passway
I’m A Steady Rollin’ Man
From Four Until Late
Hellhound On My Trail
Little Queen Of Spades
Malted Milk
Drunken Hearted Man
Me And The Devil Blues
Stop Breakin’ Down
Travellin’ Riverside Blues
Honeymoon Blues
Love In Vain
Milkcow’s Calf Blues
Stopping the flow of shame & the destruction of
GLUTINE inflammation the cure is Honor Dignity.
The Force of Forward Motion
Reversal of Desire
the Force of OUTFLOW
Active love
1) concentration
2) transmission
3) penetration
The Force of Self-Expression
The Force of Willpower
“imagine you can see far into the future. See
yourself lying on your deathbed. The older self
knows how crucial the present moment is, be-
cause he’s run out of them. You see him rouse
himself from his bed and scream at you not to
waste the present moment.
-Barry Michels
“Do you find that most things come from within?”
“Most things come from taking chances.”
And you’re always taking a lot?”
“I believe in Jesus, Tell you why if you don’t know
already: Jacob wrestled with his angel because
he defied his own Guardian Angel.”
“Time is just the opening & closing of possibility
along a fixed sequence.”
Winery Tour
“On the left, a 1500 gallon redwood barrel containing
Burgundy kept always at the temperature of… “ and then
he said “ Whose kid is that?”
The force of ‘whose kid is that?’ caused everyone to pay
attention to the real moment we were all in. A small child
was about to fall into a very deep vat of wine.
I vowed, at that moment, that every statement in my
poems should at least have the force of “whose kid is that?”
“It is an impossible standard, but a good one,” language in
an exact relationship with his consciousness.
He spoke without thinking or remembering. He simply
—Lew Welch
‘It was the sound of the streets. It still is.
I symbolically hear that wherever I am.”
You hear the sound of the street?
“That ethereal twilight light, you know it’s the
sound of the street with the sunrays, the sun
shining down at a particular time, on a part-
-icular type of building. A particular type of
people walking on a particular type of of street.
It’s an outdoor sound that drifts even into open
windows that you can hear. The sound of bells
and distant railroad trains and arguments in
apartments and the clinking of silverware and
knives and forks and beating with leather straps.
It’s all—it’s all there. Just lack of a jackhammer,
you know.”
You mean if a jackhammer were—
“Yeah, no jackhammer sounds, no airplane sounds.
All pretty natural sounds. It’s water, you know, water
trickling down a brook. It’s light flowing through the—“
Late afternoon light?
“No, usually it’s the crack of dawn. Music filters out to
me at the crack of dawn.”
The “jingle jangle morning.”
After being up all night?
“Sometimes. You get a title spacey when you’ve been
up all night, so you don’t really have the power to form it.”
“But that’s the sound I’m trying to get across. I’m not
just up there recreating old blues tunes—or trying to
invent some surrealistic rhapsody.”
“Interior monologues (voice overs), out of sequence
shots, and jump cuts.”
“Hope & Fear are—VISION”
“Don’t be afraid to write about what you are afraid of.”
String-bands & Jug-bands
the music box effect
Kaleidoscopic sound
post-apocalyptic primitivism
(visceral realism)
Plastic Ono Band
Sun Records
Ali Farke Toure—Red
Julie Ruin
A.G.—cultural ambassador
W.B.—anti-societal visions
J.K.—heart & soul, saint
“he was a writer—that is,
he wrote”
Corso—poet trickster
Kaufman—pure, reversal
William Carlos Williams
“no ideas but in things”
Ezra Pound—“Make it new.”
“A new world is only a new mind”
—Elvis Presley
“A rebirth of wonder.”
James Dean
Bob Dylan
“All pieces of music are circular & eternal.
All pieces of music return to their beginning.”
“In my beginning is my end.”
the circus
medicine show
mardi gras
the magician
the convict
the fugitive
the cowboy
homeless, prison, old
poor, sick
subaltern polysemy
Economic Justice
Anti-racist equality
anti-war peace
Anti-corporate individual rights
Anti-surveillance privacy
Sun Records
Mystery Train
by Junior Parker
Big River, I Walk The Line
by Johnny Cash
Blue Moon,
by Elvis Presley
bold, colorful shifts
Sam Phillips
“Do something thats never been
done before.”
Rediscover America
—candid album
—field recordings
Bill Swan, Donnie Fritz, Neuwirth
Gurf Morlix, Gary Floyd, Ross Johnson
Jim Page
Do I want to do this?
Budget needs, recorders
website construction, pressings—
‘the ubiquitous Elizabethan Chiasm (or
pattern within a line or two of abba, whether
of sounds or parts of speech, or concrete vs.
abstract terms, etc)
“And brass eternal slave to mortal rage” (64)
brass-eternal/ mortal-rage
mortal + eternal are opposed
assonance: “the pain be mine, but thine shall
be the praise.”
chasm: pain mine thine praise
(39) what can mine own praise to my own self
“the chasm the picking up of words & images
from previous + revising or expanding their
“they seem to hide in the sense of the line they
are invisibly deepening.”
“great” —73
“magnificent” —121
“very great” —146
necessity of confronting the place one’s been
assigned in things, while maintaining artistic
hard core authenticity ala punk,
blues, mountain music, outsiderness.
intrinsic knowledge of one’s own strengths, based
on the ability to produce the work.
“ to Isis Moon Lady Language Creator Birth Goddess
Mother of Ra, Saraswati + Kali—Matoo, Hecate,
Ea, Asarte Sophia & Aphrodite. Divine Mother.”
Oh, Sister
“another great surge of unafraid Prophetic
“song becomes conscious poetry, the best you can
say in total rhythm.”
“where’s the great slowdown tenderness where
everyone knows where….is at under his minstrel hat?”
“two songs his own heart life songs—alone , total.”
“from sacred solitude inner prophesies—building on that
mind honesty strangeness to openhearted personal
historical confession.”
“lifetime awareness
we’re here in America
at last Redeemed, O
Generation, keep on
O Generation
Keep on working!


Chapbook 4 (continued)

‘A highly developed, acute servant of other people’s truths.’

He’s someone who empties himself out.’

‘A million percent alive… .’

‘He can overhear and notice two kinds of things: all the life & noise pouring out with great excitement. Yet at the same time, even though he is…very practical, he can evoke in words faraway worlds, strange tales, astonishing ideas, and develop & link them to an intimation of meaning in society, in regard to the gods, a sense of cosmic reality, these were all pulsing through his mind, all these levels at the same time.’

‘He didn’t have a lot of quiet attentive people in a dark room such as this.’ ‘It was rather, the most mixed audience that ever existed in the theater: thieves, pickpockets, whores, drunks, half drunks, brawling in fights. As well as, of course, the bourgeosie, there for entertainment, sophisticates, looking for the things that are sharp, witty, erudite…at every moment he had to bring all these along, because if you learn anything…it’s that if you lose part of an audience, you’re DEAD. The work is to bring them all together into one organism, beating with one heart…’

‘The outer life & the inner life: Sometimes within a single line -which on the surface is so clear it registers on the most crude, vulgar level, yet within that line there may be an adjective, some vibrant word that both keeps the clarity on the surface, but at the same time suggests something way beyond it.’

” bring… the audience to the highest level of life within them.’
The secret play

‘There’s a moment there at the end of each line, that pause, a moment to reach into yourself & find the next set of words. It’s in that pause that, given the idea that you’re trying to express, you choose words to express them.’ ‘a moment of poise.’

‘the moment…in which one finds oneself on the…threshold of comprehension.’
‘transformative: the end of each line is not a dead pause, but a live pause, a kind of… kinetic poised springboard to launch with new energy (linguistically & intellectually) into the line following. A moment of dramatic surprise or suspension at the end of every line.’

‘A complex art that comes into being only of the person…kept all those whirling levels alive within him.’

The tragic burden of bottomlessness

‘Someone who has within him the vision of bottomless infinitude.’

‘the mystery, the tragedy of bottomless consciousness…’

‘burdened by knowing too much. Bottom having just had his dream of bottomlessness. Mercutio, someone for whom the language itself is a dizzying spiral into which he almost disappears. Falstaff plumbing the bottomless depth of his own lies.’

‘elevated & burdened by being a million percent alive to the infinitude of creation.’

‘…limitless, and aware..of the unforgiving deadline of mortality.’
‘King of infinite space’ but also ‘bounded in a nutshell.’
-Ron Rosenbaum

‘I always try to turn a song on it’s head. Otherwise, I figure I’m wasting the listener’s time’

‘The greatest guiding principle: boredom’

‘Drama: what one is being shown, & what one is seeing.’

“The Spirit searcheth everything, yea, even the bottom of God’s secrets.”

‘A simple, straight, real man, with an extraordinary metaphysical consciousness.’

“If you take away the supernatural, you might as well burn the entirety of his works”

metaphysical thought
political thought
a social sense of life
a sense of human comedy
a sense of human tragedy
a joy in human vulgarity
a likeness for human likeness
a joy in human grossness.
‘the void, charged with potential’
the void, emptiness
the sense of vibrancy within the infinite space of the void

‘potential… of a single vibrant word’ to create a world, to release infinite energies’
He liked to create the sense of bottomlessness, the bottom falling out, dropping out.

‘The excellence of every Art is it’s intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate, from their being in close relationship with beauty & truth- Examine King Lear & you will find this exemplified throughout. But in this picture (Benjamen West’s Death On The Pale Horse) we have unpleasantness without any momentous depth of speculation excited, in which to bury it’s repulsiveness.’

Intensity: the greeting of the Spirit & it’s object.

‘The Axis of Jacques-Pierre’s universe is the silence of Cordelia.’
two different personalities: the ‘mythic’ and the ‘realist.’

‘Now Ariel, I am that I am, your late and lonely master, who knows what magic is; -the power to enchant that comes from disillusion.’ -The Sea & The Mirror

‘The refusal to be yourself becomes a serious despair, the love nothing, the fear all.’

‘…you might sometimes be with someone who’s got no song to sing, and I believe you can help someone out…’ -BD

‘…the great & prolific creators who produce a world.’

‘ Just the right phrase can go a long way.’ -Chris Rock
Invention: the finding of suitable topics. ‘a finding, a reaching into oneself to find what comes next.’
a consideration of essence as opposed to accidental modifications.
(Quotes from Shakespeare Wars by Ron Rosenbaum. Also, Peter Brooks, WH Auden.)

“There are certain qualities we demand from the music. A sense of immediacy, of personal involvement, a sense of tradition as well as appreciation for that which carries things to a point where they can go no further. A rejection of compromise, an obsession with the song material and a sense of an event with every performance.”
-John Cohen

“I always like to think that there’s a real person talking to me, just one voice you know, that’s all I can handle – Cliff Carlisle… Robert Johnson. For me this is a deep reality: someone who’s telling me where he’s been that I haven’t, and what it’s like there – somebody whose life I can feel.” -B.D.

Chapbook 5

“Conscious continual compassion and ordinary
contentedness…simple kicks.”

“Forgive everyone for your own sins/ And be sure
to tell them/ you love them/ which you do.”

“Don’t break your tenderness”

“The Single Teaching: Love Everywhere.”

“Forgive, reassure, pat, protect/ and purify” the living
in “whatever way is best.”

A.G.’s Mexico City Blues Chorus 13, 17, 24, 50, 51, 52, 54,
63, 64, 96, 97, 110, 113, 121, 157, 146, 149, 155,
173, 179, 202, 208, 209, 211, 217, 219, 225, 225,
228. 230, 232, 240, 241, 242
Lowell Canto 87-104
Essence & Existence Canto 182-205
“Did you ever hear that to conquer your enemy
you must repent first, fall down on your knees &
beg for mercy?”

“I’ll tell you this much—when you tell somebody
your dreams & hopes you better be sure they
love you like a brother or your dreams & hopes
probably won’t come true. You got to be somewhat
superstitious to survive.”

“Read John Keats, Melville, listen to Robert Johnson &
Woody Guthrie.”

“I felt like I’d broken through with this song
[Tombstone Blues,] that nothing like it had been
done before.” -BD
contemporary Malian music/ repetitive without
“turn-arounds”—or lift out chorus, forcing you to
orient yourself wherever the groove is-
end of Strawberry Fields
midnight voice of Chuck D
where do songs fit in?
Cold Irons Bound
A cool sound, & not rock ’n roll
Help Yourself
Ice Water
Old Blue Car Blues
Charlie James
Rise & Shine
So Glad You’re Mine
Walkin’ Bum
Brokedown Engine Blues
Cool Drink o’ Water
Someday Baby Blues
Bumblebee Blues
Fixing To Die
Steady Rolling Man
Deep Blue Sea Blues (Catfish)
Broke & Hungry
Dig What Yr Puttin’ Down
My Kind Of Trouble
“The great and golden rule of art, as
well as of life, is this: That the more distinct,
sharp and wiry the bounding line, the more
perfect the work of art, and the less keen
and sharp, the greater is the evidence of
weak imitation, plagiarism, and bungling…
The want of the determinate & bounding
form evidences the want of idea in the artist’s
mind, and the pretense of the plagiary in all
it’s branches…what is it that builds a house
and plants a garden, but definite and deter-
-minate? Leave out this line, and you leave
out life itself: all is chaos again, and the line
of the Almighty must be drawn out before
man or beast can exist.” -WB
“Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes
you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The
race is long, and in the end, it’s only with ypur-
joy, new, life, god.
“Hold fast to the highest version of who you are.”
“The nucleus of my solar system is ADVENTURE”
“The compost
of language
if it isn’t in deeds
“Journey of the act of writing through zones not at
all favorable to the act of writing.”
“Making new sensations appear—subverting the everyday.”
— infrarealist manifesto Bolano
“Results of five hours waiting…seven texts written in the style
of Uises Lima, or rather in the style of the one poem I’d read
or really just heard.The first one was about the sopes, which
smelled of the grave; the second was about the university: I
saw it in ruins; the third was about the university (me running
naked in the middle of a crowd of zombies); the fourth was
about the moon over Mexico City; the fifth about a dead singer;
the sixth about a secret community living in the sewers of
Chapultepec; and a seventh about a lost book and friendship.”

“A couple of drunks tried to bother me, but young as I am,
I can take care of myself.”

“A waitress (…her name was Brigida) stroked my hair absent-
-mindedly, as she went by.” -Bolano (The Savage Detectives)
The four agreements
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
“Bob as a creator. His method of writing and how he was influenced
by his surroundings including Victor. Details into how Bob worked
harder and longer than anybody. Stories about Joan Baez getting
offended that Bob would wake up in the middle of the night and write,
Deep observations by Victor indicating that Bob’s only real way of
communication was through songs.” -VM & son, notes.
“…it must be…noted that the prophet—like its ironic alter-ego, the
trickster—lives up to the promise delivered by his prophecy only when
the latter is projected toward an audience.” -Andrea Cossu
Woody & Seeger—“Taking It Easy”
“Those old songs are my lexicon & my prayer book.” -BD

“The only constant is that it’s hard and it’s elusive, and it requires a great
amount of effort.”

“I’ve not written a song yet that didn’t require me giving 100% of what I’ve
got to get it right, and that’s a lot of effort.” -Mary Gauthier

“I used playwriting to focus on & attack the things I was afraid of, to go in the
direction of the things I was afraid of instead of running away from the them…
the poxxr is an arrow & it is fear & it points in the direction of where you should
go.” -J.P. Shanley
judgements are necessary. sometimes
you must decide.
king of wands/queen of coins
Jesus Christ! Renewal is at hand.
“Tap from yourself the song of yourself,
blow!” -
“I just couldn’t imagine how Johnson’s mind
could go in & out of so many places. he seemed
to know about everything, he even throws in
Confucious-like sayings whenever it suits him.
Neither forlorn nor helpless or shackled—
nothing hinders him. As great as the greats were,
he goes one step further.
You can’t imagine him singing “Washington’s a
bourgeois town.” He wouldn’t have noticed or if he
did, it would have been irrelevant.
Robert Johnson’s code of language was like nothing
I’d heard before or since.
“I is some one else.”

“When I read those words the bells went off.”
“The songs weren’t customary blues songs. Each song
contained 4 or 5 verses, every couplet intertwined with
the next but in no obvious way. They were so utterly fluid
at first they went by quick, too quick to even get. They
jumped all over the place in range & subject matter, short
punchy verses that resulted in some panoramic story—fires
of mankind blasting off the surface of this spinning piece of
plastic. “Kind Hearted Woman.” “Travelling Riverside Blues”
“Come On In My Kitchen.”

“The songs were layered with a startling economy of lines.”

“They were so elemental in meaning & feeling & gave you so
much of the inner picture.”
“I copied Johnson’s words down on scraps of paper so I could
more closely examine the lyrics & patterns of his old-style lines
& the free association that he used, the sparkling allegories, big-
-ass truths wrapped in the hard shell of nonsensical abstraction
—themes that flew through the air with the greatest of ease. I
didn’t have any of these dreams or thoughts but I was going to
acquire them.”
“The stuff I got’ll bust your brains out” he sings. Johnson
is serious, like the scorched earth. There’s nothing clownish
about him or his lyrics. I wanted to be like that too.”
“Johnson bypasses tedious descriptions other blues writers
would have written whole songs about.” -BD
“..artists are less the outcome of objective qualities of their selves
or their songs and more the result of what hey and other actors
do—cooperating or competing—for the creation of their image
as artists. What is interesting is the depth, extension, and
precarious balance of this collective work and the part it plays
in the definition of authenticity.”
“the unpredictability of the meanings that artists have for their
publics is what constitutes, at least in part, their aura.”
“witty blues, sarcastic rock & roll, reminiscent of…talking
blues, or lyrics that expanded inner directness…whereas
on the acoustic side…symbolism reaches it’s climax and
an unsurpassed coherence.
“a prophet is a ‘highly individualized figure, who derives
his authority not from any institution, but from the assertion
of his personal vocation.” -Andrea Cossu
—has an agenda–works everyone it
comes in contact with.
—giving the feeling that something could happen.
(on the meaning of style):
“stupid people look stupid; a charismatic person never looks
stupid; therefore a charismatic person is smart.” -RH
“I don’t carry myself yet the way that Big Joe Williams, Woody
Guthrie, Lead Belly, & Lightnin’ Hopkins have carried them-
-selves—hope to be able tp someday, but they’re older people.
I sometimes am able to do it, but it happens, when it happens,”
unconsciously. You see, in time, with these older singers, music
was a tool—a way to live more, a way to make themselves feel
better at certain points. As for me, I can make myself feel better
sometimes, but at other times it’s still hard to go to sleep at night.
“The blues is for soothing.” –Albert King
“The way I think about blues comes from what I learned from Big
Joe Williams. The blues is more than something to sit at home &
arrange. What made the real blues singers so great is that they
were able to state all the problems they had; but at the same time,
they were standing outside of them & could look at them. And in
that way, they had them beat. What’s depressing today is that
many young singers are trying to get inside the blues, forgetting
that those older singers used them to get outside their troubles.” -BD
“Dedicated to the rough riders, ghost poets, low-down rounders,
sweet lovers, desperate characters, sad-eyed drifters and rainbow
angels—those high on life from all ends of the wild blue yonder.
And especially to the girls upstairs—Cathy, Miriam, Mildred & Naomi
who put this heavy volume together.
To the magnificent Woody Guthrie & Robert Johnson, who sparked
it off and to the great wondrous melodies spirit which covereth the
oneness of us all
And to Sara who made it all complete.” -BD 1973
“The compression of story is masterful, but its real wonder is in the
spaces, in what the artist left out of his painting. To me, that has
always been the key to his art. To state things plainly is the
function of journalism; but Dylan sings a more fugitive song: allusive,
symbolic, full of imagery and ellipses, and by leaving things out, he
allows us the grand privilege of creating along with him. His song
becomes our song because we live in those spaces.” -Pete Hamill
“Old Bards & Minstrels rhymed their years  news on pilgrimmage
road —Visitations town to own singing Kings shepherds cowboy’s
& lawyer’s secrets”

“Woody Guthrie lineage road bards’ll still make us weep where there’s
suffering to be sung. Dylan’s Redemption Songs! If he can do it we
can do it. america can do it. ” It’s allright Ma I can
make it”.”

…”surreal-history love text ending in giant’  YEAH’     when minstrel
gives his heartaway & says he wants to stay.” -AG

“…poetry, his troubadour’s traveling art, seems to me to be more
meaningful than ever. I thought, listening to these songs, of the words
of Yeats, walker of the roads of Ireland: “We make out of the quarrel
with others rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.”

“…looking at the quarrel of the self. The crowds have moved back
off the stage of history; we are left with the solitary human, a single hair
on the skin of the earth.”

“the anthem for all who feel invaded, handled, bottled,
packaged; all who spent themselves in combat with the plague; all who
ever walked into the knives of humiliation or hatred.”

“love, the human emotion that exists in spite of, not because.”
“The signposts have been smashed; the maps are blurred. There is no
politician anywhere who can move anyone to hope; the plague recedes (?),
but it is not dead, and the statesmen are as irrelevant as the tarnished
statues in the public parks. We live with a callous on the heart. Only the
artists can remove it. Only the artists can help the poor land again to feel.”

“…bringing feeling back home…risking that dangerous opening of the
veins…regret, melancholy, a sense of inevitable farewell, mixed with sly
humor, some rage, and a sense of simple joy.” -Pete Hamill

Hendrix, the Poet

Author: PC
Date: 17 February 2014
Category: Uncategorized
to David Ensminger, for Joe Carter:

In response to your question: “What do I believe are the poetic qualities of Hendrix’s lyrics?”

First of all, he created memorable, and dynamic original phrases of speech, blazing lines that stick in your head forever. I think he had more of these in three or four albums than the Beatles, for example, made in their whole run:

“‘ ’scuse me while I kiss the sky!” (from purple haze)

” I know what I want but I just don’t know/ how to go about gettin’ it” (from manic depression)

“will it burn me if I touch the sun?”   (from love or confusion)

‘there ain’t no life nowhere!”   and

“”i don’t live today/ maybe tomorrow, I just can’t say” (from I don’t live today)

let me stand next to your fire’  and

‘move over, rover, and let Jimi take over!”  (from fire)

castles made of sand/ fall in the sea/ eventually  (from castles made of sand)

“aw shucks/ if my daddy could see me now’   (from up from the skies)
”if all the hippies cut off all their hair/ i don’t care/ I don’t care”  and

“if six turned out to be nine/ I don’t mind/ I don’t mind
’cause I’ve got my own world to live through
    and I ain’t gonna copy you”            (from if 6 was 9)

’she’s walkin’ through the clouds/ with a circus smile/ running wild’   (from little wing)

This just touches the surface, off the top of my head.
hese are great powerful, forever memorable and meaningful original phrases, with a rhythm and punch present, in the best American tradition, which often has a punchline-type diction, and often lands with an accent of sound and meaning on the last word of the phrase. It’s the “American Sound” and Hendrix has his own version of it, big-time.

2) Secondly, he used the poets tools. Jimi was a natural poet. But, I think he was helped in his quest to write great songs by studying strong sources, that themselves were tapped into poetic tradition.  These would be:

A) Exceptional soul music songsmiths like Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding, James Brown, and Don Covay.  From these he learned how to form the premise of a song around a powerful, but simple idea, with a catchiness, and simplicity of phrasing. The imagery in these writers work is reflected in JH’s songs  like ‘Remember”  ’You Got Me Floating” ‘Little Miss Lover’.  Is it poetic? I believe this type of writing at it’s best IS. Also, he knew Chuck Berry and Little Richard, both for the great SOUND of their words, and for their INNOVATION. Chuck Berry is a chronicler of American Culture and in his way, Hendrix was too, (though of a more psychedelic era.) Little Richard spoke in tongues “a wop bop a loo bop a wop bop bop” (from tutti frutti)  Hendrix excelled at this, in all of the above examples and many others.

B) Bob Dylan: a huge and liberarting influence on JH…. “Songs can be about anything”.  Dylan was a path to the Beats for Hendrix, using the poetic tools of vivid imagery, alliteration, assonance, dissonance, as well as his art of twisting phrases that Jimi adapted.   Listen to the album “Blonde On Blonde,” to hear all these poetic tools being used. It was reportedly one of Hendrix’s favorites. And “Highway 61 Revisted”… He learned a lot from these, eventually covering ‘Like A Rolling Stone” in his US debut.   Dylan would say “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken”   which could easily be a Hendrix line.  Colorful mad twists of rhythmic language.

C) The great blues singers and songwriters: Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Elmore James, and others.  He topped the imagery in these writers most forceful material, in songs like “Voodoo Child”  ”If 6 was 9″  and others. Its a strain that runs all through his work. Rhythm conveying emotion, mythic bragging imagery like JH’s “knock down a mountain with the palm of my hand’ etc… is from songs like Dixons ‘Hoochie Koochie Man’, or Muddy Water’s “Just To Be With You”
And intimate talk like Jimi’s acoustic 12 string version of “Hear My Train A-Coming”  (be sure to watch this on  youtube if you havent yet) ( a great performance of a great piece, his emotion so close to the surface he nearly cries, common for him but very clear here) (great poetic lines like “I’m gonna buy this town/ and put it in my shoe”) 

I think it’s important to recognize how deeply JH studied and played into the tradition he was coming up in. He made sure he knew EVERYTHING about R+B, Blues, and Rock and Roll. He knew the songs, the licks, the grooves, and he knew about what went into making up the WORDS. He played with everybody who was great, and he listened and learned intensely.

I think Wind Cries Mary is one of his best: Mary is his mother (tho’ her name was Lucille) also the Virgin Mary… a feminine deity or principle he looks to for protection.  His sorrow in the wake of events leads him to feel the whole creation is calling out for this missing… feminine spirit.

It’s imagery that creates a dimension of feeling that goes beyond normal songwriting: I call that poetic.
After all the jacks are in their boxes 
And the clowns have all gone to bed 
You can hear happiness staggering on down the street 
Footprints dressed in red 
And the wind whispers Mary 

A broom is drearily sweeping 
Up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life 
Somewhere a queen is weeping 
Somewhere a king has no wife 
And the wind, it cries Mary 

The traffic lights they turn up blue tomorrow 
And shine their emptiness down on my bed 
The tiny island sags downstream 
‘Cause the life that lived is, is dead 
And the wind screams Mary 

Will the wind ever remember 
The names it has blown in the past 
And with his crutch, it’s old age, and it’s wisdom 
It whispers no, this will be the last 
And the wind cries Mary

I hope this helps as you consider Jimi Hendrix the poet. I could go on a lot more than this. It’s an interesting subject. Have you seen the book Cherokee Mist, with so much of his writing in it? I recommend it. Another great one, maybe the best book about Hendrix, is Greg Tate’s “Midnight Lightning.” If there is any aspect of this you have a question about, please don’t hesitate to write, ok?

best wishes

Up date!!! New Tour Dates Posted!! May 20th etc… Click on Tours!

Posted by PC on 12 May 2016 | 5 responses

Hi gang… hello! Hello. HELLO! Is anybody there? All the traffic went to Facebook, gee, I sort of regret that.

Anyhow, a new tour back east is coming in a few days. Also McCabe’s on June 19, a Novato cookout with KC Turner and Dan Bern, and in October…. A Thirty Year Anniversary Release of My first solo LP, coming on Omnivore!

There will be song class in SF and Palo Alto this summer, tho’ its still being scheduled at this point.

Outside of that, trying to come up with my next move… how about you?

best wishes,

Two Day Songwriting Workshop In Palo Alto, April 9 & April 23!

Posted by PC on 2 April 2016 | Comments Off

Peter Case – Two Session Songwriter’s Workshop
Sat, April 9, 2016
1:30 am-Sat, April 23, 2016
1:30 pm
Peter Case is a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and producer, a mighty fine guitarist and a well-reviewed published author and yet, he’s most at home on the stage. For 25 years, Peter, his guitar and his songs have mesmerized audiences

PLEASE NOTE: This is a two day workshop on April 9th and 23rd from 1:30 to 4:30.

A class that all levels of songwriters can enjoy. Peter brings knowledge from his years as an acclaimed songwriter, including his debut in 1976 with punk/new wave/ rock and roll legends The Nerves and his popular recordings with the Plimsouls for Geffen Records, on through to his groundbreaking and three-times Grammy nominated solo career.
In this 2-session workshop, Peter offers secrets of the craft that will have you immediately writing more powerful and interesting songs. The atmosphere is a fun, comfortable, and at times humorous environment, but the content is serious and will enable you to surprise yourself with a new song composed as a class assignment. You can receive feedback in the second class for your assignment song. Performance of songs is completely voluntary, not required. Peter’s workshop will focus equally on lyrics and music, and on the art of coming up with fresh ideas. Topics will include “thinking like a genius” and “putting what you love directly into your songs.”
Sign up early and get a song assignment for the first class, too.
There will also be time for Q&A and help with individual issues that participants may be having.


Songwriter’s Workshop Sails Monday Night April 4 in SF!

Posted by PC on 2 April 2016 | Comments Off

Songwriters Workshop with Peter Case
Mon 7-10 pm; Peter Case 4/4-5/9 sw.pc
In this class that all levels of songwriters will enjoy, Peter brings knowledge from his years as an acclaimed songwriter, including his debut in 1976 with punk/new wave/rock-and-roll legends The Nerves and his popular recordings with the Plimsouls for Geffen Records, through to his groundbreaking and three­-time Grammy-­nominated solo career. In this workshop, Case offers secrets of the craft that will have you immediately writing more powerful and interesting songs. The atmosphere is fun, comfortable, and at times humorous, but the content is serious and will enable you to surprise yourself with a new batch of songs composed in weekly assignments. The workshop will focus equally on lyrics and music, and on the art of coming up with fresh ideas. Topics include “thinking like a genius” and “putting what you love directly into your songs.” Sign up early and get a song assignment for the first class!
Cost 425.00


A Street Singer’s Christmas

Posted by PC on 24 December 2015 | 6 responses

The year wound out magnificently, days dropping off like chunks of liquor store ice, into the big muddy river of time, drifting away and melting in the raging currents of the holiday season.

I was down at Market and Powell wearing ragged winter hand-me-downs, looking for a place to set my case amidst the streaming current of xmas shoppers pushing and stomping their way to the next shop, for the next item on their list, past the ringing salvation army trio, and the finger pointing psycho preacher at the cable car turn around.

“You! Will! Burrrrrnnnnn!” he screamed, looking right at me. I looked away and kept walking. Same to you, pal, fuck off.

It was cold out, wet, not raining anymore, though it was pouring an hour before. The sky was already getting dark and the day had just begun. Nice! I was alone, and had exactly 25 cents left from yesterday’s busk session. I didn’t know where Danny’d been lately, hadn’t seen him since he took off to Hayward with Nicole. He’d been gone about a week. Bert’d been scarce lately as well; he’d been somewhere with his Swedish girl, and I didn’t know where or how he was making it, either.

I hadn’t eaten for a day. Something had to happen. I turned right up Powell and walked as fast as I could up to Union Square, set down my case at the entrance to the square, on the corner, and started singing and playing Sleepy John Estes’, “Broke and Hungry,” bangin’ the snaky riff over and over on my Yamaki deluxe.

A few people tossed quarters as they hurried past, and two winos, who were sitting on a wall farther back in the park, looked up, did a slow double take, then ambled my way. They’d been sharing a bottle of Night Train Express, but it was all gone now. Ahhhh, Night Train: The cheap wine with the beautifully drawn locomotive blazing down a midnight rail on the label. They looked like they’d be glad to get their hands on a quarter or two.

My fingers were cramped from pressing down the metal strings in the cold, the case was open and bare, the little bit of change I’d made so far could buy me a pork bun over in Chinatown, so I considered quitting and making the long trudge through the Stockton tunnel over to North Beach, when here comes John.

John was an old time hippie from up in the Haight. I knew him from around town; he’d been there since before the ‘67 boom. John had long dirty blonde hair and big ragged side burns. He was wearing a black stove pipe hat, an old fashioned long coat with tails—to protect him from the chill, jeans with piebald patches, and big worn out work boots. He was hauling a trumpet case that day, though I’d always thought of him as a guitar player. We greeted each other in the gloom of the fading afternoon.

“Hey Peter, what’s goin’ on, man? How you doin’ out here? Where’s Danny? You feel like sittin’ in?” He glanced in my empty case and got the picture. “Today should be a great day out here, man. Let’s team up and go over to the cable car turn around; we’ll be shoveling it in down there.”

I was glad to have a partner, so I picked up and we worked our way through the crowd, back down the couple of blocks, to the red bricks at Market.

“Look, Pete, here’s the thing out here: you can’t play what you want to hear. You gotta play the song you hate the most. Name a song you hate, one you really can’t stand.”

I didn’t answer immediately, and so he went on: “You hate ‘Alley Cat,’don’t you? Most guys hate that one.”

I thought of the cornball Al Hirt standard: “Yeah, I can’t stand that.”

“Good,” he said. “Play along with me and watch this.”

We started playing Hirt’s cloying, cheesy hit. John took the lead clumsily on the trumpet, and me, I did my best to back it with the proper orchestral chords.

We hadn’t been at it for 15 seconds when a passing woman shopper threw a handful of change in the box. A man doubled back and put a dollar bill in the case. A small crowd started to gather. Some tourists took our picture, then came forward and put a twenty in the case. WOW! John stopped blowing horn for a second, and reached the sawbuck out of there and into his pocket for safe keeping.

We made 33 dollars in the first 15 minutes.

“The secret, man, is, you gotta play the song you hate the most. That’s the one that makes the money. Let’s keep playing ‘Alley Cat.’ You gotta keep goin’, past where you’re sick to death of it. Just keep goin’. Trust me.”

I decided to believe him, and we kept playing and playing and playing ‘til I thought I was gonna lose my mind, that my fingers were gonna freeze and break. The money was FLYING into our case. It was the highest paying session I’d seen out there. .

We played ’til the traffic died, until the second-to-last-shopping-day-before-Christmas was over, and, when we finally packed up, we each pocketed nearly a hundred bucks—by far the best day I’d ever had busking.

We ran into Crazy Horse Danny just as we were closing up shop; he’d come back in the city, he’d come down here looking for me, and he played ten minutes or so of “Alley Cat” with us, so he could make some dough too, and then we packed it up, and caught the N Judah streetcar up to the Haight , getting off after the tunnel, across from John’s Carl Street pad. We decided to celebrate for a while, first stopping at a liquor store, to get some supplies.

Once we got to John’s we all went into his music room at the front of the house, sat around the piano with the little Christmas tree on top, and for the rest of the night, we sang the songs we loved.

No Depression year end poll

Posted by PC on 16 December 2015 | Comments Off

I was told I could probably use a little bit of a goose in the No Depression year-end readers’ poll.

Here’s the link:


Kickstarter Campaign

Posted by PC on 21 October 2015 | 2 responses


hey folks, this is the HWY 62 Kickstarter I was a talking about. The album is done, recorded in LA with Ben Harper on lead guitar, DJ Bonebrake from X on drums, as well as some other great musicians, ten songs about now, I’m really proud of it, and I want people to hear it! It’s being released Oct 30.This kickstarter is to raise funds for a PR campaign that will steer music fans to the record, and let my fans know it’s out. Your support is super appreciated. The record companies don’t do this stuff anymore, but it still needs to get done! Thanks for your support!

hey folks, this is the HWY 62 Kickstarter I was a talking about. The album is done, recorded in LA with Ben Harper on lead guitar, DJ Bonebrake from X on drums, as well as some other great musicians, ten songs about now, I’m really proud of it, and I want people to hear it! It’s being released Oct 30.This kickstarter is to raise funds for a PR campaign that will steer music fans to the record, and let my fans know it’s out. Your support is super appreciated. The record companies don’t do this stuff anymore, but it still needs to get done! Thanks for your support!

HWY 62 Publicity Campaign Kickstarter

Posted by PC on 21 October 2015 | Comments Off


thirty off the top of my head ( X 6)

Posted by PC on 4 October 2015 | 19 responses

this kind of list is sort of a internet meme these days, so, here’s my list of thirty acts (actually 180) that I’ve shared a bill or stage with, or in couple of cases, collaborated on songs with. the only one i’m not sure of is suicide, paul collins said it happened, but I was pretty spaced out those nights at max’s kanas city, so don’t actually recall??? )

1) john lee hooker
2) merle haggard
3) john prine
4) townes van zandt
5 bobby womack
6) willie dixon
7) de la soul
8) the ramones
9) tom petty & the heartbreakers
10) jonathan richman
11) los lobos
12) eric von schmidt
13) gordon lightfoot
14) dave van ronk
15) donovan
16) odetta
17) elizabeth cotton
18) ali farke toure
19) elvis costello & the attractions
20) tarafs de haidouk (romanian gypsy band)
21) ruben blades
22) spalding gray
23) gary us bonds
24) devo
25) pere ubu
26) the gap band
27) mavis staples
28) the replacements
29) ice-t
30) allen ginsberg

31) flamin groovies
32) fleshtones
33) mink de ville
34) nick lowe
35) husker du
36) the zeros
37) the alley cats
38) the last
39) the dils
40) joan jett & the black hearts
41) madness
42) blue oyster cult
43) the buzzcocks
44) the blasters (also, dave & phil alvin)
45) richard thompson
46) the outlaws
47) steve forbert
48) jackson browne
49) john doe
50) joe ely
51) guy clark
52) the desert rose band (chris hillman, herb pederson)
53) chuck d
54) jeffrey lee pierce
55) taj mahal
56) the coasters
57) doug sahm
58) t-bone burnett
59) john hammond, jr.
60) loudon wainwright

61) lucinda williams
62) van dyke parks
63) sir george martin
64) the la philharmonic
65) ramblin jack elliot
66) john stewart
67) bob neuwirth
68) james harmon band w/ hollywood fats
69) the nuns
70) dmz (mono man, future lyres)
71) roger mcguinn
72) suicide (max’s, according to paul c)
73) the standells
74) stevie winwood
75) ron sexsmith
76) chris smither
77) ian hunter & mick ronson
78) the ventures
79) butch hancock
80) emmylou harris
81) daniel lanois
82) cheap trick
83) richie havens
84) the plugz
85) sammy hagar
86) graham parker
87) stan ridgway
88) billy barty
89) bodeans
90) bonnie raitt

91) ray wylie hubbard
92) paul weller
93) iggy pop (andy kershaw radio show, london)
94) steve earle
95) phil lynott (jam)
96) rem (jam in denver, peter buck, many jams etc))
97) dream syndicate (on live lp)
98) herbie hancock
99) dwight yoakum
100) johnny winter
101) ladysmith black mombazo
102) alex chilton
103) eddie money
104) eurythmics
105) exene cervenka
106) dwight twilley
107) phil seymour
108) chrissie hynde
109) david johanson
110) the tubes; also, pierced arrows
111) tex & the horseheads
112) hoodoo gurus
113) suicide commandos
114) firehose
115) jimmy sons ( jam, ex-shadows of knight)
116) rubber city rebels
117) johnny depp (miami, 1981)
118) marshall crenshaw
119) kathi mcdonald (great sf singer, stones exile lp)
120) beausoleil

121) alejandro escovedo
122) freedie johnson
123) jim lauderdale
124) rosie flores
125) billy joe shaver
126) billy swan
127) steve young
128) phranc
129) crawdaddies
130) go go’s
131) eric taylor
132) garland jeffries
133) bruce langhorne
134) duane jarvis
135) peter paul & mary
136) the romantics; & don’t neglect the Timbuk 3
137) the adolescents
138) the weirdos
139) rich little
140) harry dean stanton
141) the king bees
142) carla olson and the textones
143) buddy miles
144) johnny otis
145) rodney crowell
146) allen toussaint
147) zolar x
148) david lindley
149) mary gauthier
150) south side johnny (songwriting)

151) kevin welch & kieran kane
152) michael westin king
153) victoria williams
154) john hiatt
155) robyn hitchcock
156) the williams brothers
157) marvin etzioni
158) peter stamfel
159) mary lou lord
160) jules shear
161) sheiks of shake
162) phast phreddie & thee precisions
163) direct hits (paula pierce)
164) lee flier, what the…?
165) ted hawkins
166) baby lemonade
167) bill morrissey
168) peter mulvey
169) keith sykes
170) roseanne cash
172) jim whitford, mark winsick, rob lynch!
173) ron franklin
174) paul geremia
175) five blind boys of alabama
176) chuck prophet & stephanie finch
177) jim page
178) thelonius monster also: flea, keith morris, & fishbone.
179) cindy lee berryhill
180) brave combo

& many more acts much more than deserving of mention, but whose names are lost to me
for the time being, in the airwaves of my brain. for example, the nerves, the plimsouls eric idle and duke mcvinnie! (see, gotta make another list)

Willie Dixon style

Posted by PC on 28 August 2015 | 1 response

I met and collaborated with the absolutely great Willie Dixon–a thrill!–when his songs were administered by Bug Music—he listened to one of my piano demos over at the Bug office, and had me over to work at his house in Glendale, a little cottage really, a very small place for such a definitive musical giant; his publishing suit against Led Zeppelin for “Whole Lotta Love” hadn’t been decided yet; when it was some said he would be compensated in the millions.

He reclined in a large leather upholstered chair in his office,leaning back and peering through bifocals, scratching away at lyrics in pencil on a little pad, with one leg swung up over the armrest, and the other foot firmly on the floor. A parlor grand piano was situated in the middle of the adjacent room, by the front door, in sight of his armchair and he’d ask me to sit down at the keys and pound out infinite repetitions of the two-handed blues groove to the song while he composed lyrics, all based on rhymes for smoke. We’d do that for a spell, then I’d come in and we’d discuss music and life.

“Everybody’s got to have their own style” he intoned with the voice of a mystic. “Sometimes the name of the style, the song, and the artist are all the same thing–identical–Bo Diddley. When I first met Chuck Berry he didn’t have a style. One afternoon he came in playing the old country and western song Ida Red, but he had it going a new way, and I told him ‘keep doing that so you don’t forget it while I set up the microphones; and that was Maybelline.”

“You gotta have your own style—,” he starts rummaging over the articles atop a shelf in the back of the office— “I got a style over here for somebody,“ and he comes up with two harmonicas, silver in his huge grip, handing one to me and commanding to just “play.” He assumed I could, so I did, playing a blues in cross-harp, what they call “second position,” the key of G on a C harp, while he lifts the other harmonica up to his mouth and starts wailing a strange lick, very eerie and keening.
It was the first I’d ever seen or heard of a minor harmonica.
“Major against minor,” he explained, “that’s a style for somebody.”