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September 07, 2004 || 4:02 am

Just back from spending Labor Day weekend in Memphis, an impromptu trip which originated when I called Butch, an artist friend of a friend who lives in Alabama and he told me he was going to be exhibiting at the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival and doing some partying along with it. Our party was completed by John Henry Toney, an extraordinary old black plowboy turned self-taught artist aged 76.


He rediscovered his artistic talents at the same time as Butch, who is also self-taught, around ten years ago and draws these astonishing pictures on board and paper.


He also sings and tells stories of the old times, and silenced the audience during his stage slot with his clear-voiced renditions of old gospel songs, before cracking them up with his stories.


However we tucked him up in bed at the house of Butch's long-suffering friend and music journalist Andrea, before hitting the town, the whisky bottle, and some rocking dancefloors three nights running at Hernando's Hide-Away, an old-time country bar with this in the ladies...


...the Buccaneer with the Royal Pendeltons...


...and Wild Bill's, the most jumping of black blues bars to which this photo does no justice...


...resulting in this happening to Butch around 4 in the morning somewhere along the way...


I also got my first lesson in bluegrass fiddling. Moral of the story, always go to Memphis with a music journalist.

1 comments

1 Comments:

cool pics

By Blogger Umaga, at 5:19 am  

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