05 April 2011

You Know You're Good

There are times when you just know.

It may be something simple which yields a degree of confidence and competence. "I just told him to clean the battery contacts with a pencil eraser and put the batteries back in. Now he thinks I hung the moon!". That's one. Here's another one: "I'll be over in half an hour with new start and run caps for your A/C, and you'll be frigid again in no time." (Used IRL with the X, and 100 per cent. true).

But those are but hollow victories, playing against the Little Sisters of Charity Football team, as it were.

"Bro, can you come over and help me pull the dash on my antique BMW?" "OK, give me an hour, have beer ready" ... "So the problem is...?" "Gotta pull the heater core, it's not transferring sufficient heat energy through the [MEGO])". "So, you DID flush the heater core, right?" Explanation ensues with practical demonstration and display of efficacy of technique. The difference is that the first two were innocents. They really had no idea. The second a real life mechanic who just wanted me to give him a hand with a task that really requires more hands than are standard issue on a human. That's really nice. Self-affirming, really.

But real good words from real pros - that what makes you smile after years have passed. When I was just a young white blues player, I was walking home* fom a rehearsal, through a "bad neighborhood" well after midnight. I heard the unmistakable sound of live blues from a club I had hardly noticed in the past. I walked the block or so out of the way and found a neat little blues dive, with the band just taking the last break of the night. Being young, brash, and in over my head, I did the only thing I could: I asked to sit in on the last set. "No problem" I was told, "We'll start with a standard twelve bar by my cousin Freddie King, It's called 'Hideaway' . "That's OK, I know it" Here's the song:

That's not a "standard twelve bar blues". I just asked him if he could hold the Peter Gunn part for twenty four bars, and do that descending lick three times through to close.

The band came up and (name redacted) said "and we got a honkie wannabe joining us on this first one".

So we did. I pulled the Peter Gunn theme into the appropriate part, didn't miss a lick, and doubled him down on the descending lick (you really must either know the song already or listen to it through the link to understand just how impressive it really was);

Preparing to leave the stage after that tune I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Not so fast, white boy, now we're gonna have FUN!". Following therewith a good three hours of good natured jammage, mostly after hours. The club owner gave me a ride home in his Cadillac, and told me I was welcome any time.

I still don't know why I don't play my guitar more.

No comments: