Friday, April 26, 2013

The Stories Behind the Stories - Gone Bad Blues

I had just gone to bed one night when I got a phone call from some friends (around 12:30 am) about an after-party at a one of their friends house and I needed to get my @$$ out of bed and get dressed, they would be by in just a few minutes to pick me up. Oh, and bring a guitar!

I got dressed, tuned my acoustic, and put it in the case. Once on the road, Ryan informed me that his friend, Ric Clayton, was associated with the Minerva Festival, and this was an excellent opportunity to get on the bill for the 2010 Festival.

Once there, I saw what was really going on. Ryan was invited to the party as long as he brought some music (a stipulation placed on a lot of people in that group of friends, as I soon found out). We were all sitting around on the back porch drinking when I was asked to play something on the guitar for a guy to rap over! I played a couple of pieces for him and he was definitely a talented rapper, regardless of my dislike of the style. My friend Naomi asked me to play something she and Farley could dance to, and we moved the pool table (sitting in his dining room where a table should be!) to give them enough room to dance.

I had this piece of slide guitar music, written in Open G a few months before, and I started playing it. Someone asked me what it was and I replied that it was a piece I was working on and it didn't have a name. The rapper, chompin' at the bit to rap over it, asked if it had any lyrics, and I said sure, not knowing WHAT I was going to sing over it (I was ready for something other than Rap).

I played through the music a few times while Naomi and Farley danced around the pool table, trying to think of something to sing over it, when the first line of Robert Johnson's "Love In Vain" came to mind:

And I followed her to the station
With her suitcase in my hand
Well it's hard to tell, hard to tell
When all your love's in vain.

I didn't want to steal it, so I started thinking of ways to change it and make it mine.

I went down to the station
With a suitcase in my hand.
Had to leave my baby,
Messin' with another man

For the other two verses, I used the same idea and just changed the words a little.

I went down to the station
Left my woman standing there cryin'
Lord, that man she's been lovin'
Livin' on borrowed time.

I went down to the station
Sheriff on my trail
Catch the first thing smokin', I won't
Spend my life in jail.

The rapper dude would rap a little in between verses (and over the solo section), and I really wish it had been recorded. I was proud of the way it sounded, everyone at the party loved it, and it became a permanent part of my repertoire. Thank you, Naomi, Ryan, and Farley, for calling and waking me up.