Monday, September 12, 2011

Ancient Sketches (Ancient Obsession) (Ancient Post)

Lest you think I come lately to this cause, or this illness, I show you some some old sketches my mother kept for me in a steel box. I obviously made them after the album Bio appeared-- so let's say 36 or 37 years ago. (I won't admit to anything more recent than that.) At any rate, long enough for the scotch tape to have seeped through the back of the young Chuck and to have disappeared completely from the other side.

What's amazing to me about this photograph is how much the young Chuck Berry looks like my friend Dando G., whom I met in Togo, West Africa, 30 years ago.  Dando and I had an instant connection that was at least as solid as the connection I instantly felt to Chuck Berry's music about ten years earlier.  Something about the eyes and the little grin here are just about identical.

I looked for these for another reason. My trip to Mississippi revived old longings of all sorts. I pulled down a book I have on Delta Blues guitar. During this same period of frantic sketching (I figure it lasted about three weeks) I also drew Skip James from the cover of the book. I'll post it later. Anyway, the book itself is one that I have felt guilty about for about as long as these pictures have been mouldering in that steel box. I could never figure it out. But now I have more of the records. So today I got out my Charlie Patton record and a capo and tried my best to make a few of the sounds. The book was suddenly helpful. It at least got me to a few of the chords, which in Patton's case, are regular old Cs and Es and As. I'm still no Charlie Patton. He wasn't a friend of mine, and I didn't know him, and I'm not him. But I'm a step closer. (That's why I keep my stuff forever.)

This one comes from the cover of another book of sheet music-- an old Chuck Berry book that's long gone. It wasn't terribly helpful as a book because all it really gave you was piano music, and I don't read music. But I'm always optimistic about learning, so I bought it, failed to learn it, and then drew the picture. Looking at it now, all I can see is that I made one pupil much larger than the other-- and that the chin on that side is bigger, too. Maybe that's the scanner. Ah well.

(Editor's note:  Actually, I've looked at the picture, and others, and realized that Chuck's chin is a little bigger on one side.  Saw it again in a recent photograph.)
And followers of this blog will know that earlier this year I revived my artistic side just long enought to start a painting featuring CB as the subject of a painitng in a gothic cathedral. (Unfinished view to left.)  It shows general deterioration of both skills and mind-- but that's what can happen, right? In the meantime, the painting has suffered from additional layers of confusion and obscurity-- but I'm hoping that someday it will turn out just right.


Anonymous said...

rock and roll is the best genre there is, his best seasons were the 70s, 80s and 90s. Thank God for rock and roll yeahhh!

Anonymous said...

wow this helped me do 75% of my report!!!!!

Peter said...

Hey-- I want to see the report! Peter