Thankful for the Blues, Tina Silverman

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Thankful for the Blues

by Tina Silverman

Liberated by a white English guy and a wall of Marshalls down at the crossroads of 2nd avenue and 6th...

Escaping a perfectly groomed Bethesda, Maryland high school, catching the bus on Saul road meeting Laura downtown stepping into high hallowed halls of the Library Congress climbing way up into the low ceiling darkened carrels listening to field hollers and rural blues from the Mississippi delta and the feudal world of south eastern America. Forever grateful to John Lomax and son Alan who slogged it out on red clay back country roads in a battered van filled with reel to reel, brilliantly conserving, cataloging and protecting the roots, rhythm and rhyme of the next best thing to being there. Listening to the American music of enslavement and hope. Broken hearts, scorned lovers, unforgiving deadly passion and baby please come home. Mournful endless questions and answers, repeating choruses of pain and salvation just a few decades and a few hundred miles south from my close cropped hedges and three car garage.

Early Sunday mornings wandering around the little shore towns of rural southern Maryland and Northern Virginia sitting outside the scruffy wooden doors and listening to sweet Jesus and the mighty Jordan glorified. Joining the chorus of millions singing the same spirituals on the picket lines and marches in the last noble flawed and failed struggle to free us all from the chains of racism. Singing the blues for the big picture.

Underage sneaking around the east coast's small clubs listening to Paul Butterfield, John Hammond, (sixteen smoking Luckies and hanging around the stoop across the street from his basement apartment praying hed show his magnificent face, hed see me as his muse and take me away from my suburban death) Elvin Bishop, Dave Van Ronk, Tom Paxton, John Fahey, Mississippi John Hurt, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Miles Davis, ahh Coltrane, scrambling for a personal connection. Janis and Doctor John. Liberated by a white English guy and a wall of Marshalls down at the crossroads of 2nd avenue and 6th.

Singing in a band wishing I could have heard Bessie or Billie live. Baby please call home. Wondering if I could ever be considered. If for one moment the white, stuffed daughter of privilege could cut past the stereotypes and even for just a few bars have someone believe that I understood the blues. Been there, not through doing that. To sing for the moment.

I feel it. In a huge broken hearted chain of longing and lust. I believe it and it aint nobodies business if I do.

Tel Aviv, Israel

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