It cracks me up when the new kitty comes bounding into the room like she’s late for her cue. And I’m glad to see her feeling sassy.

I’m always saying stupid stuff to the cat. Like I was cooking dinner and she was just hanging out in the kitchen and I was all “Hey, shorty, whatcha doing? Just hanging out being short?”

And she was like “Yeah.” I mean, what can you say to that? Plus, she’s a cat, so obviously she’s not saying anything, really.

But I swear to god, the Butcher and I were just doing up the new kitty’s medical routine and Mrs. W. was barking like she had nursing experience and we were not doing it right. Is this what she does all day? Takes nursing classes? Who is she to criticize?

Anyway here’s something cool. Tommy Johnson’s grave is now going to be accessible to the public.

Tommy Johnson had what we might call a more accessible voice than his erstwhile co-Devil-soul-selling Johnson, Robert. But what’s really cool about Tommy Johnson is that you can hear the influence of the blue yodel on his vocal performance. He’s not yodeling, exactly, but he’s breaking his voice and playing around with the vibrato in a way that makes it sound like the yodel has worked its way into Johnson’s lyrical delivery.

Compare Johnson’s delivery to Howlin’ Wolf’s just to get a sense of how that yodel echoes down. He’s just teasing at an echo of it, in that voice break, when he hits “bay-ayeuh,” which is how I will say “baby” from here on out. (As a side note, can I just say Howlin’ Wofe…? Whew. I want to say he’s totally underrated, but everyone loves him, so… I don’t know… I just feel like not enough.)

I can’t mention the blue yodel without pointing you to Jimmie Rodgers, of course.

Probably you should listen to that first and then you can see how Johnson and Wolf are using those same vocal tricks.

Ooh, and then check out Lucinda Williams, doing her version.

That’s it. We should probably all run around tomorrow singing “I asked her for water…” just to see the looks on people’s faces.

3 thoughts on “Surprise!

  1. I’m more partial to the Memphis stuff than the Chicago stuff. The songs he recorded at Sun Studios in 1951, before he came North, were some of the finest Rock N Roll records ever minted.

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