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November 24th, 2018

Even Gay Boys Get The Blues

A classmate embarked long ago on a career as a blues keyboardist and singer. These days he goes by the stage name Reverend Billy C. Wirtz and last night I got to catch his act live for the first time, along with another classmate I hadn’t seen in ages. First of all, the Reverend is Amazing. He does a great blues keyboard with a side of comedy and servings of blues history. I would definitely go see him again when he’s in town, and I think you should too.

The spot I saw him at was a small restaurant bar venue in Bowie Maryland, and it turned out that Reverend Billy was the between sets act for the main event which was an almost big band blues group named The Rick Jones Music Emporium. I would definitely go see them again too, but with a set of earplugs because their sound guy likes it LOUD. They played a set of blues songs, some of which were pretty risque to an older and obviously heterosexual crowd that just ate it all up. They were having a good time. Meanwhile I did what I always do in those situations, mentally swapping out a pronoun here and there to make it something I could relate to.

There was one song in particular that gave me some ideas for sexy drawing, along the lines of the one I did following California Rep Ted Hickman’s crack about skin tight short-shorts and go-go boots…

I was going to get down to it today, but first I wanted to read the lyrics again. What I discovered was it was a Randy Newman song. I came to know and appreciate Randy Newman through his wonderful movie scores for Avalon and Pleasantville, but I knew he also did pop songs. I would not have recognized this one as one of his, but then it was hard to hear the lyrics in that venue because the room was small and their sound guy just blasted us with it.

When I read the lyrics I saw a passage that spoke to me as a gay man and I didn’t expect that. So I re-read the lyrics again as if they were speaking directly to me. Well…not Me specifically since I have no boyfriend and never have. But to something I actually thought I might have someday when I was a younger man. And yes…actually reading the lyrics you could see it was a Randy Newman song. And it could just as easily have spoken to a heterosexual who’d found their other half despite what the rest of the would thought of it. Or anyone in a variety of sexual and romantic spectrum. Which I think is what really made it a Randy Newman song. He isn’t about shutting people out of life’s joys. People who got pissed at “Short People” weren’t paying attention.

I’m not going to name that song just yet…if you already know which one I’m talking about, fine, but for those of you that don’t I’d rather let you discover it just the way I did. I thought I was just going to do a one-off sexy riff on this song, mostly on its title. But now I have to do another one-off multi-panel cartoon on it. Probably can’t post it to my Facebook page when I’d done because as I said the song was kinda risque. But that’s why I still maintain my own website.¬†And I’ve been wanting to do more of this sexy guy anyway. I’m thinking it along the lines of a page Robert Crumb did, that so I’m told he hates now because it’s been copied and misunderstood for decades…that Keep On Trucking one. Each panel of it is captioned with a single line from a song by Blind Boy Fuller. Something along those lines. Not the entire song, just maybe four panels with a line or two from the song and a drawing above it that says how the song made me feel about the joy of love and sex and life that lots of us of my generation might have had in a better world that never was. You can loose yourself in a song, in the world it spins for you, and believe for a moment that it was real.

This may take a few weeks. Let you know when it’s done and posted. I might even post some of the pencils while I work, like I did for that retort I made to Ted Hickman.


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