This was the second Jesse Fuller tune I learned, ~ “San Francisco only Blues.” I’m not sure why — there to be a many of great songs on the album, and in retrospect that seems favor several of lock would have actually attracted my teenage fancies before this one did… and yet, there to be something around this lyric. The is together a wonderful hodge-podge, traveling v Bernadine in his “flying machine” to

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the beach at Waikiki, and that charmingly strange locution, “We’ll all acquire together, spend a little while/ Walking under that little old church aisle” — which ns recall singing as “orchard aisle” for several years before I identified what he was saying.

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As much as I have the right to determine, this was Fuller’s very own composition, and is great example of why the is therefore silly the historians have actually classed him together a blues musician. The did play part blues, but he to be a magnificently varied jack of every trades — and also not just when it involved music: he had actually a shoeshine stand, and also carved bendable wooden snakes the he sold on the street. If I’ve acquired the dates straight, the was once he was living in Hollywood, a duration when he especially struck up an acquaintance with the world’s most renowned movie star, Douglas Fairbanks, and played a bit part in The Thief that Baghdad.

Then he relocated up to Oakland, where he came to be a experienced musician for the first time, in his fifties, having actually hit top top the gimmick of structure himself a foot-pedal-operated bass and also becoming a one guy band. He additionally raised chickens, and did carpentry, and also refitted his vehicle to bring all the tools and additionally serve as a sleeping space. He dubbed himself “The Lone Cat,” with great reason — when he came to be a nationally well-known figure, the toured by car, acquiring where he necessary to go, sleeping in his own quarters, dependent on no one. I also heard a story, which ns gather is apocryphal but shouldn’t be, that he wouldn’t tour Europe till the bookers arranged because that him to take trip by ship, and also he drive on board, slept in his auto all the method across, then drove off the watercraft in Europe and did the tour.

See more: R I Give You A Group Of Three, Riddle: I Give You A Group Of Three


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Elijah Wald"s website has many pages around his books and also other writing, assorted musical projects, his biography, an save of old articles, and other heterogeneous ephemera.