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You get a heck of a sound from the church. Can’t you hear it in my voice?
– Muddy Waters
I was messing around with the harmonica… but I was 13 before I got a real good note out of it.
I stone got crazy when I saw somebody run down them strings with a bottleneck. My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree and I said that I had to learn.
I wanted to definitely be a musician or a good preacher or a heck of a baseball player. I couldn’t play ball too good – I hurt my finger, and I stopped that. I couldn’t preach, and well, all I had left was getting into the music thing.
Man, you don’t know how I felt that afternoon when I heard that voice and it was my own voice.
Of course that was my idol, Son House. I think he did a lot for the Mississippi slide down there.
That Mississippi sound, that Delta sound is in them old records. You can hear it all the way through.
Robert Johnson? No, I didn’t know him, personally.
Now that I’m gettin’ old enough to get some money, I’d like to have some money. I don’t get much made, I need to conquer a big chunk of money. Not quit playin’ but quit playin’ so hard.
Oh, I started out young. They handed me a cotton sack when I was about 8 years old. Give me a little small one, tell me to fill it up. I never did like the farm but I was out there with my grandmother, didn’t want to get away from around her too far.
I rambled all the time. I was just like that, like a rollin’ stone.
I went to school, but they didn’t give you too much schooling because just as soon as you was big enough, you get to working in the fields. I guess I was a big boy for my age.
If you got something you don’t want other people to know, keep it in your pocket.
I wanted to get out of Mississippi in the worst way. Go back? What I want to go back for?
I was so wild and crazy and dumb in my car. It didn’t run but 30 miles an hour. You made do.
I got up one Christmas morning and we didn’t have nothing to eat. We didn’t have an apple, we didn’t have an orange, we didn’t have a cake, we didn’t have nothing.
Our little house was way back in the country. We had one house close to us, and hell the next one would’ve been a mile. If you got sick, you could holler and wouldn’t nobody hear you.
My grandmother, she say I shouldn’t be playing. I should go to church. Fially, I say I’m going do this, I’m going do it. And she got where she didn’t bother me about it.
There’s no way in the world I can feel the same blues the way I used to. When I play in Chicago, I’m playing up-to-date, not the blues I was born with. People should hear the pure blues – the blues we used to have when we had no money.
Saturday night is your big night. Everybody used to fry up fish and have one hell of a time. Find me playing till sunrise for 50 cents and a sandwich. And be glad of it. And they really liked the low-down blues.
I was always singing the way I felt, and maybe I didn’t exactly know it, but I just didn’t like the way things were down there-in Mississippi.
I been in the blues all my life. I’m still delivering ’cause I got a long memory.