The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Ancient Voices #24

Lonnie Johnson


estiv said...

I've always loved this picture, even though it's more of a composition than a portrait. But the way that he's dressed with such care, the prominence of the guitar in the frame, and that perfect use of the many shades of gray that black and white can give you, all add up to an image of "the musician" that is indelible and other-wordly.

vilstef said...

Some of his earliest shellac issues from 1925 even have him playing some blues fiddle. His last recordings from the 60s are powerful in playing and singing. He did an album of old, traditional jazz with a Canadian jazz band about 1965, and the youngsters are having a hard time keeping up!