“Good-Old Blues” – Brother JT (on Baltimore photographs)

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When I was in my early teens I had a little book of blues lyrics. Scattered among the words and chords were grainy, b&w photos of city life – sad kids standing in a doorway, woman hanging clothes on a line between buildings, etc. I still connect those kinds of images directly with urban electric blues of the ’50′s and ’60′s, a primary source for listening inspiration in my younger days.
I don’t listen to much blues these days – maybe because I over-listened back then. But seeing these photos really brought back that early, romantic notion of cities and the blues; how you can lose yourself in the greys and blacks of concrete and shadow the same way you immerse yourself in someone else’s artfully articulated musical sorrow. These images look like the real, good-old blues to me: lean, unpretty, even messed up, but crammed with that elusive and valuable property – soul.

Brother JT (musician, artist, author)