Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Leadbelly's Blues

                          Found him on the corner of Bourbon and Royal 
                          He was a great big black Texas boozer 
                          I knew he had a place for me to spoil.

                         We traveled everywhere ‘round these parts 
                         Me waitin’ on the back cold stones 
                         Him playin’ that flat box and tearin’ out hearts.

                         He called me Tatters.  He left barbecue on the bones, 
                         And let me slop the beer up after we left the joints’. 
                         We slept in flophouses and he wrote hundreds of songs.

                         Once we went all the way to see a Dallas man 
                         Took us most near a week ridin’ them slow freight trains— 
                         Hitched in from Ft. Worth and walked over hot bricks and sand.

                         He was worn out from the travel and he needed a job 
                         Stoppin’ on that city street called Ellum 
                         He talked to someone but they called him a slob.

                         He took up fightin’ then and knocked that man to the ground. 
                         I was runnin’ full out when I caught him up, ‘bout two blocks down. 
                         A sassy woman said, “C’mon I’ll give you some if ya come around.”

                        We was mellow when the evenin’ came and rain started to fall 
                        Lickin’ his hand I was tryin’ to tell him it’d all be fine, 
                        When a blind man that everybody knew wandered into the hall.

                        Blind Lemon, Blind Lemon sing us that old blues again! 
                        Sing it with this big bad blues man come here from Nah‘leans. 
                        Leadbelly, this be Blind Lemon—finest livin’ black blues man.

                        I heard them two rounders holler, and strum into the night 
                        Singin’ out their souls; makin’ music with great might. 
                        Never will forget in all my wandrin’ years 
                        Down in Deep Ellum— such joy and sadness in my ears.

                                 © Gay Reiser Cannon  All Rights Reserved
                         Blues story based on a true report of Leadbelly, having been
                         released from Sugarland Prison,who then made his way to Dallas
                         hoping to find Blind Lemon Jefferson.


  1. Thanks Maureen! Good to see you.

  2. Good old story for good whisky and bad women on a hot night under the stars

  3. Wow, loved the tale; and loved the way you wrote it from a dog's perspective...nice.

  4. fascinating gay...really well told and love that it is based on a true story...

  5. Aww, I loved this piece. I love the diction you used, can hear that country accent shining through. Fascinating story you have woven, full of great images. Nice one Gay!

  6. This is ... simply ... amazing. I am struck dumb by the craft in this that calls to life the times, the men, and the dog. How amazing to put this into the brain and eyes of a dog. Your verse itself sings the blues so well that i want to just step right into the place it carves out of the silence and begin drinkin again. Excellent excellent poem.

  7. Magical. Don't know why it seems so obvious, but you've totally captured the voice of a big yeller blues-dog singin' a song of his pal. Absolutely love this.

  8. ... and the poor live next to the rich, so it is with happiness... sadness seems to like a turn... nice story

  9. ... and the poor live next to the rich, so it is with happiness... sadness seems to like a turn... nice story