Ask me how does a man feel, when he’s got the blues…

If you want to get a good argument started, gather a few blues aficionados and ask them to define “blues music“.  Boz Scaggs knows the blues (Ask Me Nothing clip).  People who are into the blues tend to be really into the blues, and it’s a fascinating subject that attracts attention from scholars and schoolboys alike.  Blues music was brought to us by poor blacks in the rural South, building on West African traditions and their own home-grown ingenuity.  To the early recording industry market segmenters you had the terms “race music” to define music by blacks for blacks and “hillbilly music” to define music by whites for whites…but the two types differed little musically, differentiated mostly by the race of the performer and the target of the record salesman.  Both hillbilly and race music spoke of the hard times and sometimes desperate circumstances of your rural Southerner, white or black.  When black Americans migrated to the North in search of economic opportunity the music went with them, morphing as innovations in technology such as electric amplifiers opened up new creative possibilities.  As American tastes changed and local gigs dried up, performers took their sound to willing and appreciative audiences in Europe.  Europeans musicians in turn took what they were hearing and incorporated it into their own sounds, with which they stormed the American market…ever heard of the British Invasion, Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones, or guys by the name of Clapton or Jagger or Plant?  And the process of innovation continues today, each succeeding generation adding their bit to what came before, and sometimes even getting interested in where it all started.  You’re not going to hear Robert Johnson’s version of Cross Roads Blues on commercial radio any time soon, but you hear derivatives of it all the time.  Matter of fact, going back and listening to recordings by early guys like Johnson, Son House, the Reverend Gary Davis and others can be a real revelation if you haven’t heard it before!  Yeah, it’s not everybody’s sound, but it’s IN everybody’s sound.  The image below was shot at the harbor in Menaggio, on Lake Como in northern Italy, on a lovely evening’s walk with my sweetheart when the only blues in town were the harbor lights!  (11 September, 2011  Menaggio, Italy)

Stone walls and steel bars, a love on my mind, I’m a three-time loser, I’m long gone this time…

Judging from the attention these bunnies gave to the holes in their cell door, I think they were longing to try a jailbreak.  The Easter Bunny tradition came to the US with German immigrants, though back in the old country it was the Easter Hare.  The rabbit has long been associated with renewal and rebirth, thanks to its status as a prolific breeder.  In a single breeding season a female rabbit can produce as many as 800 children, grand-children, and great-grand-children!  While that’s impressive, consider the following:
– infant aphids are pregnant before they are born
– male seahorses are the ones that give birth
– a termite can produce up to 30,000 fresh house-eaters in a day, but hold on…
– each section of the tapeworm’s body can grow up to be a new tapeworm, and can produce a million baby tapeworms a day! We have a winner!  We saw the bunnies in the image below while hiking in the hills above Lake Como…their house may be a bit snug for their liking, but their view is spectacular.  (12 September, 2011  Lake Como, Italy)