Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jessie Just Made Me Cry

My baby girl just called me and her voice was shining with something good.
"What?" I asked her. "What is it?"
"Vergil just bought us tickets to see B.B. King tonight!" she shouted.
"What? You're going to see B.B. King TONIGHT?" I asked her.
"Yes! In two hours!"
"Oh my god. Oh my god! I wish I was going to be there!"

Then I told her that every time I think I can't love Vergil more, he does something and I do.

"Me too," she said.

Oh Lord.

I've talked about B.B. King before. How since I didn't have a daddy, I got to pick my own and he's the number one. Yep. B.B. King is my daddy. He don't know it, but he is. I love that man. I've been to see him a number of times and every time I have come to love him more. I've read his book which I think every school child in America ought to be required to read. It's the story of a man who came up the hardest hard way of all and who has become a legend, a myth, a beloved Father Of The Blues and who has the most gracious soul I've ever encountered on the stage or on the page.

Mr. Moon and I took May and Hank to see B.B. once, when they were young. We had second row seats and we ended up dancing our asses off and shaking hands with Mr. King when the performance was over. We were so close to the stage that we might have gotten sprayed with sweat and we might have loved it.

And I've always felt so guilty that I never took Jessie or Lily to see their grandfather play. Well, one of the times I went to see him, I was pregnant with Lily so in a way, she's heard him. But now Jessie will get to hear him, and that makes my heart so happy that I cried.

Mr. King will be eighty-seven years old this year, y'all. EIGHTY-SEVEN YEARS OLD! And he's still on the road, still playing Lucille and still singing the blues and his voice will be still someday but tonight, he's playing in Asheville, North Carolina and my baby will be sitting (standing/dancing) in the audience and she'll know why I love him so much.
It'll be like she's meeting her granddaddy.

His amazing band will play some intro-stuff and then a man will stand up to the microphone and announce THE KING OF THE BLUES! MR. B......B......KING! and a presence will come onstage so strong and so joyful and so beautiful that the crowd will rise as one (if they have a brain and a soul amongst them) and Mr. King will strap on Lucille and he'll place his fingers where they know to go and....


Here he is, playing the song that made me fall in love with him.
Nobody Loves Me But My Mama (And She Could Be Jiving Me Too).

And as he says, "No wonder I act funny with you, baby, when you do the things you do."

You do it, B.B. And know I love you. It ain't just your mother. And I'm not jiving you at all.

Oh Lord. Jessie's going to go see B.B. tonight. Mr. B.B. King. King Of The Blues.
What a thing. What a very, very good thing.


  1. I so wish he could somehow read this.

  2. Chuck Berry......that's who I love. Kinda along the same line of work as BB King.

    I've Chuck Berry a few times hanging out at Blueberry Hill....he does shows almost once a month. Or used to.

  3. Oh, yes, a very, very good thing. I saw him in October -- three months ago -- and he was totally amazing. I'd only seen him once before, at a big guitar festival, but he really shines with his own band. I won't miss him again! :) Have fun, Jessie -- enjoy! :)

  4. Lucky, lucky Jessie and Vergil, in having each other _and _ getting to see G'pa BB together. They will have a goood time and you will be with them in spirit. Happy Saturday night! x0 N2

  5. Forget BB and get crackin' with those lines mama. :-)

  6. I was twelve, one of the highlights of my life. I shook his hand and his hand swallowed mine. He gave me a pin in the shape of a guitar that said "Lucille". Second row, behind two white couples- both men of which were balding. They sat, and listened. (Perhaps they were Buddhists?) We danced. And danced. And danced in our row until we could not dance in our row anymore, we danced the row done and ended up smack in front. Where he and Boogaloo could reach out and touch us. And they did. Now our Baby Girl gets to see the man. Good job Mama, you raised us well.

  7. SJ- Me too. But it's okay if he doesn't.

    Rebecca- Chuck Berry is great but he's not a blues man. I'd love to see him too.

    Meow Lady- Lucky you!
    And howdy!

    N2- It's a good Saturday night. Jessie sent me a very blurry picture and message that she is there!

    Rubye Jack- My brain needs rest, darling!

    May- Oh honey. Yes. That's exactly how it happened. Wasn't that a GOOD night? Oh yes it was. Bugaloo. Best head tosser in the world. Sweat flying off his curls. B.B.'s hand. Oh yes. I love you.

  8. God, I love the blues. And BB is one of the very best. How lucky is Jessie?

  9. Awesome! I wish he could read it too. Do you think Mr. King has email?

  10. That means she will get to see Lucille, too! We can't forget Lucille!

  11. How funny -- I JUST this morning was thinking about you and your music posts and your Keith obsession and then I remembered how you wrote a letter to BB King. Or did I dream that?

  12. I saw Papa BB in Asheville about 9 years ago. It was one of the finest moments of m,y life, and that is a great venue for concerts...

    Lucky, lucky Jessie !!!!!

  13. Mr. King. Love him so.

    Went to a concert when I was 18, I got there early and he came out and did a soundcheck. Just him and a microphone and Lucille.

    He said directly to me "Does this sound OK from there?"

    I just nodded and beamed. It is a moment I will never forget.

    AAAAAaaaaand.... you taught my kid the Nobody Loves Me But My Mama Song when he was 3 years old.

    He *still* doesn't know what the word jivin' means.

  14. that tape was sublime, what a legend and what a man. thank you for sharing and cheering up this freezing cold January day overhung with the frost on all the branches and grass in the garden... it is so cold, but that music and your blog warmed me up! Happy Sunday!!

  15. Syd- Y'all should have gone!

    Lora- Who knows? Not me.

    gradydoctor- Bless Lucille and the man who loves her.

    Elizabeth- I did and never sent it. But here on this blog I have sent him several love letters.

    Akannie- I can't wait to hear the report!

    Omgrrrl- Oh boy. What a great memory for you! Yep. I remember giving Mr. King to Austin. He'll learn what jivin' is before it's all over.

    janzi- It's ALWAYS a good time for the blues.


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