Big Mama Thornton: Everything Gonna Be Alright

  Today you are in for a treat. You may think you don’t know Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, but you do. Big Mama was the first person to record Hound Dog years before Elvis Presley prettied it up and made it palpable for a white audience. Not only did she record it, she sold 2 million copies in the four years before it was recorded by Elvis and rocketed to fame in the mainstream listening audience. Elvis made millions off Hound Dog. Big Mama made only $500.00. Listen to…

Muddy Waters: They Called Him Mud

Ask about McKinley Morganfield and you’ll probably get a blank stare. But ask about Muddy Waters and you’ll probably get at least a spark of recognition. People may not know exactly who Muddy Waters is or what he did, but the name stills rings familiar. He did something. Muddy Waters gave us the names of two of our most enigmatic rock institutions: Rolling Stone Magazine and The Rolling Stones. Yes, Muddy Waters put his stamp on American blues music and opened the door for the British rock invasion of the…

Wham, Scam, Thank You Ma’am!

Women of a certain age, if they’re being honest, will tell you the first time someone calls you ma’am can be, well damn right annoying. C’mon, I don’t have $1,000.00 of Oil of Olay scattered all over my bathroom for this shit. But you get over it. If you’re from the South, you blame it on “the younguns bein’ raised right.” You accept it. You buy more wrinkle cream and hope for the best. The years go by. You get used to the ma’ams. You think, “Okay, I can live with…

Stevie Ray Vaughan: “I Just Play”

When my son, Travis was in the 6th grade, he played the saxophone. I loved it. Until one afternoon when I pulled up to the school to find him playing a sultry tune while the cheerleaders danced seductively. (Oh the trials of mothers of musicians!) By 7th grade, Travis had jumped a couple feet in height, and he decided to add football to band and basketball. He would switch his football jersey for his middle school band tee shirt during half-time to play sax in the band and then run…

Dorothy Parker: The Queen of One Liners

I love Dorothy Parker. That quick wit. Her great one liners. I quote Parker quite often. (These days when telemarketers have been bugging me all day on the phone and it rings yet again.) What fresh hell is this? She would ask when her doorbell rang, irritated. Ah, Dorothy, what fresh hell indeed. Did Jehovah’s Witnesses visit you on Saturday mornings, too? Nothing against Jehovah’s Witnesses, but it is Saturday morning for Christ’s sake! To which they reply, “Exactly!” Of her morning routine, Parker said, “I brush my teeth and sharpen my…