How to shake those COVID-19 blues

If you’re anything like me, the virus lockdowns have severely limited your exposure to live blues music. Or any live music. (On the other hand, if you’re anything like me, you have my deepest sympathies.).

Clubs and show venues are closed. Festivals have been cancelled. And worst of all, my favorite venue of recent years — the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise — will not be sailing until at least October of 2021.

Ain’t that just like the blues to leave us all blue and lonely?

So I’ve started to revisit my own blues collection — listening to artists and albums I haven’t played in months or even years. And since I’m kind of an old-school blues guy, I like to track down older performers and performances on YouTube — it’s a great resource, and it’s possible to find all kinds of musical gems.

And one of my favorites from recent months is truly a gem — a 1971 concert featuring Muddy Waters and his band, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner and George “Harmonica” Smith, at a concert in Eugene, Oregon.

The show was filmed by blues fan Link Wyler, and a few other crew members from the Gunsmoke TV show (hence the Gunsmoke Blues title), who had traveled from Hollywood to capture the show.

I know. That was roughly a half-century ago. That was a time when there were (gasp) no cell phones, no computers, no smart TVs. In fact, at that time, the TV remote was a work in progress, and most of us had to slog back and forth across the living room to change the channel, turn up the volume, or even adjust the color. Tell that to the grandkids the next time you really want to frighten them.

It’s a fine concert, and the film includes footage of an interview in a vehicle carrying Waters, Thornton and Turner. Their interactions, and the passing around of a bottle, are worth the price of admission.

Tech tip: Watch this on your big-screen TV. And route the audio through something better than the TV speakers, if you’re not already doing that.

Libation tip: The concert feel is greatly enhanced with the appropriate beverage, and maybe a good cigar. My latest viewing was accompanied by a generous pour of Knob Creek bourbon, and an excellent cigar – a Gloria Cubana Serie R, No. 7 maduro.

Publishing error: And just in case you think this post disappeared, and then reappeared later, possibly written differently, you are correct. I have taken the appropriate action against the responsible party. His libations while blogging are being restricted.

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