Covering Ma Rainey.

September 16, 2011 § 7 Comments

I first heard the song on Hober, an internet music station that generously plays everything from klezmer music to throat-singing to bootleg Bob Dylan.

“You low-down alligator, just watch me soon or later, gonna catch you with your britches down.” The lyrics stopped me cold.

I wanted to sing a song that included both alligators and britches (in the down position). Who wouldn’t?  Plus the singer sounded sassy and while I can’t do big or brassy I can usually muster a respectable amount of sass.

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Back in the day I was a blues singer…

September 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

Fresh out of art school I got a job as the illustrator for The Baltimore Zoo.

Orgie Kimball worked there too, and had for many years.  When I met her she was a stooped and tired woman who wore a powder blue smock with cigarettes in the pocket and a shiny wig that had faded to a brownish-lavender. When asked what she did, her response was blunt.  “I clean toilets.”

But one day, bird keeper, Leon Dunn, said, “Orgie, tell Adrian what you used to do…”

She sighed and waved a hand. “Oh, back in the day I was a blues singer over to The Club Orleans.” She reached inside her smock and pulled out the wallet she kept tucked under her bra strap.  She flapped it open and handed it to me so I could see a photo taken when she was big and brassy and all-that.

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