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Gus Cannon: Walk Right In (Stax)


Now...I’m not - exactly - sure who I’m writing this for.

Cause, let’s face it. Most so-called “blues fans” (apologies - but I just ran outta scare quotes...“fans” should’ve been doubled) will genuinely hate this...which, to be blunt, is EXACTLY why I despise said breed. Those bastards wouldn’t know music in the real tradition if it came up and bit them in the arse...

Meanwhile, there’s the rest of us. You know, the people who know how to knock back a jug - proper. The people that know how to party...even w/out electricity. Just taste that jug there - no Stevie Ray-type action here, just what the man himself calls the “pig-ankle ball”.

One of the most bizarre events in modern music, methinks, happened in the early 60s...when a jugband throwaway by one Gus Cannon - dating from the late 20s - happened to become a huge hit, for the kinda sadly gutless whitebread outfit that (today) has become the natural target for satire. Trouble is, most people laughing’ve never even heard the kind of real music said clowns managed to denature...and - more’s the pity - they’re never, ever, likely to...

Meanwhile...the genius recordings of such as the sainted Gus Cannon - the suddenly-enriched auteur of “Walk Right In” (and many, many far superior tunes) - can’t damn-well find a contempary audience...even w/this, his modern studio recordings...totally sans the limitations of the 20s sound that, today, sadly condemns his finest cuts to marginality.

Look...I want to say, you people are fools! Gus Cannon was a fuckin’ genius...and he had more goddamn LIFE in his littlest finger than most blues/rock’n’roll/rock/punk/post-punk & such musicians could even imagine...let alone embody. Hear him here...near-crippled w/arthritis, backed by a couple of (local, distinguished &) similarly aged gents - and hear the veritable spirit of rock’n’roll as good times...and, well - you’ll forget your troubles. As well you should - sometimes....

Hey...I love music that tears me apart, too... But, and, perhaps even more, I love that which makes me whole...not by fake “healing” - that promise so deferred - but that which transcends, through some genuinely joyous foolishness:

“Well....so did the hen”

“Why?”

“Else she’d’a been into the lumber business.”




John Henry Calvinist