Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

I just spent the last day or two learning this song, originally by Skip James and given new, wonderful life by Chris Thomas King. I had to arrange it for myself using only the lower three strings--since the intended DADFAD tuning would play hell on a normal guitar set-up--but the final effect is undiminished.

I desperately want to perform this live, as a surprise mostly. I have no idea where it would fit in a proper set, but the simplicity of it reminds me of early Hebrew writing at its best, and I dare say Erich Auerbach would agree: it's elision at its most expressive, transmitting the profound despair of human existence more in its silence than in its sound.

One note at a time, simply played, just like life. Both disturbing and elating...

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