Which means that aside from dealing with the management side with Colin – setting up gigs/promoting/planning/trying to retrieve money owed from festivals/etc – none of which is the most fun in the world, I've got a bit of free time on my hands.
Which is ideal. I've got books piling up that I want to read, mozzarella cheese to make, and a stack of movies I've been waiting to watch. But, as tends to happen, I got distracted by music. The books and movies will have to wait because I've been taking the chance to learn a few songs by old Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb.
How it came about was that Mike Garner, who played at Papamoa with us last week and guested at the Christmas show, came round for lunch on Saturday (yum cha with homemade dumplings if you're curious) so we could try and hatch plans about doing a show together. We're still planning...
So we got stuck into watching a documentary about Mance Lipscomb. The late great documentarian Les Blank made a great hour-long film about him called “A Well-Spent Life” (he also mead a wonderful film about Lightnin' Hopkins). They've both just been released on blu-ray by Criterion in the States and I'm fortunate enough to have obtained a blu-ray player that will play American blu-rays.
What a fantastic film! Mance Lipscomb's life spanned most of the twentieth century and he spent it all as a share-cropper in Mississippi. To watch him and listen to him talk is to become immersed in the culture that he came from. And the music! Mance was one of the defining Texas guitarists and was a great fingerpicker with a driving thumb style. He played “knife guitar” (slide guitar using the side of a picket knife as the slide) and knew 1000 songs.
So that led me to learning a few. I think I've got his version of “Spoonful” sussed and “Sugar Babe” is coming along. And I've started a couple more. I don't know if there's much that is more satisfying in this world than nailing an old blues tune.
Look him up on YouTube – there are a whole pile of songs posted, and the Les Blank documentaries are probably out there somewhere on the internet, legally or not, now they've been officially released.
Yeah. Check out Manny. Your life will be richer for it.