Friday, February 4, 2011

Holy city blues

It's Blues Bash time in this town. There are about 25 groups at as many venues cranking out the music that I most like. There's something about the beat, the pain and the misery of good blues.

I am lucky enough to be at the marina where a Delta blues band is playing tonight. I have heard some good bluesmen over the years but I wish that I could have heard a few of the greats like Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley, and John Lee Hooker.

I remember reading about Robert Johnson, the man who is synonomous with Delta blues. A story goes that Robert went to the crossroads of Highway 61 in Mississippi and made a deal with the devil to be able to play the blues and be recognized. He did play the blues but wasn't recognized until much later when his work was recorded by the likes of the Stones, Led Zeppelin and others. His dealing must have been short-lived though because he was dead at age 27, supposedly poisoned by a jealous man whose woman he was working his mojo on.

I wonder sometimes how many of us have wanted to make a deal in order to get what we want. I think that I was willing to do just about anything to have some peace of mind around the alcoholic. I didn't quite make a deal with the devil but was as close to despair as a person could be without injuring myself. During that desperate time, I never once thought to turn to my HP for help. Instead I was busy being miserable.

But we seldom get anything that we selfishly ask for. The program teaches to not ask for selfish things but to ask to better do God's will. Maybe that's why Robert Johnson ended up dying the way that he did. Unless we give up our self-will, we are doomed to fail. No more deals for me. Just surrender, humility and acceptance.


  1. yeah, hard to do at times...definitely a discipline...but life seems to go much smoother when we do submit...

  2. While working on recovery I found myself not even asking for or wanting the same things, they just seem silly now. Unimportant. I don't know if I now reach for higher ground or if in gaining some wisdom I am not interested in the same things. I used to believe I did make a deal with the devil to settle for the relationships I settled for and the lifestyle too. Now I am not so hard on myself and am thankful for all I have learned.

  3. I guess the antithesis of Robert Johnson then would be "Mississippi" John Hurt. He was the first to pick up a guitar untrained in any way and developed a three finger picking style, cut two albums and went back to share cropping. He did music just to do it and rather'd he get his crops in on time so he could stay on the land he cropped.

  4. i have been practicing grounding, and breathing exercises. i am trying to remember to be in the present and it helps me to not over react. not to be in self pity or thing i won't get something i need or want.

    life has been very busy latey, just catching up on your posts here, sounds like a lot of serenity and it is heavenly. your post the other day asked about a higher power, i think you said it perfectly. in the basic text it says that the sooner we define a higher power, the sooner we put limits on it. i like your description. no limits

  5. Oh the deals I have made, and most of the time in my life I believe God told me yes, thankfully protecting my life because for some reason I'm suppose to be here right now. And in all the yes' I have received, I got to learn why now I say no, voluntarily, because yes is a two edged sword.

  6. If we were to make a deal with the devil, we might not ever find out what we're truly made of. I like my chances just as they are. Have a great time listening to some fantastic music. (Hugs)Indigo

  7. I've always been a blues player, with Clapton/Beck/Hendrix as my early models. I still use major blues licks as my main muse, and lay them over ambient funk. Life can definitely be the blues sometimes.

    When I was an active addict I made deals all the time; with my dealer. He was my Higher Power, always there for me, thinking about me, making sure I was okay.

    In recovery I don't have to make deals, no need to offer anyone anything. All I can do is maintain rigorous honesty.

    I love your Recovery metaphors, btw. Excellent. And thanks for your comments.

  8. So very true Syd. I love the "blues". It speaks to your soul. Isn't it amazing that all we have to do is ask for help, and yet it's the hardest thing for so many us. I'm grateful I finally asked....

  9. way to weave the message of recovery into a post about the "beat down into the red missisippi mud" blues...

    that's amazing music... "Hell Hound on My Trail" "I Can't Quit You Baby"

    great stuff!


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