Sonny Boy Williamson the first was a black man. He was also a bluesman. He was from Jackson Tennesee. Where I come from Jackson’s was a supermarket (until ruddy Sainsbury’s took it over) but in America, Jackson is a town.
They have a funny way with names in America. To be honest Sonny Williamson wasn’t even Sonny Boy Williamson the First’s real name. His real name was John Lee Curtis. But he fancied being called Sonny boy Williamson, so that’s what everyone called him. He played the mouth-organ, although he had always fancied playing the harp, so he became known as “the father of the modern blues harp.” But it wasn’t a harp, it was a ruddy mouth-organ.
Any Road, in 1937, at the age of 23, he recorded his greatest hit. “Good morning little schoolgirl. Now, I don’t know what the school leaving age was for girls in Tennessee, in the late 1930s, but I would be pretty ruddy surprised if it was anywhere near the age where it would be appropriate for the likes of Sonny Boy to be wishing them good morning, and offering them diamond rings if they will be his little woman, the filthy so and so. He was probably hanging around the school gates all afternoon, drinking ruddy bourbon mash and working himself into a tizzy, thinking about the state he was in when he woke up that morning.
Still, it was probably only a song. Bluesman probably just sang about chatting up little schoolgirls in them days, much the same as glam rock stars did in Britain in the 1970s… Ohh ruddy Norah! I’m just digging myself in deeper aren’t I.
Any road, what was interesting about sonny boy was that at the height of his fame another black bluesman, called Alex Miller, who had already tried changing his name to Little Boy Blue, and Rice Miller, decided to start going under the name of Sonny Boy Williamson. So The first Sonny Boy Williamson went to Tellahachie to have it out with him. But when he got there he found out that the second Sonny boy Williamson was a lot bigger than him, and looked a lot meaner, so he decided to change the subject, and went back home. Honestly, it must have been like when ruddy Tupac met the notorious Big.
But poor old Sonny Boy Williamson the First met an early end at the age of 34, when he got shot as he was walking past a robbery in Chicago. Ruddy Americans eh? Conspiracy theories are obviously rife. Had Sonny Boy Williamson the Second hired a hitman? Had the little schoolgirl of 1937 grown up and was she looking for the promised diamond ring? Or was it all just a terrible gun related accident, of the kind that so often happens in the land of the free?
What I do know is that Sonny Boy Williamson the Second lived on to have a long and successful career, and became more famous than the schoolgirl loving harpist that he pinched his name off.
I know that I went on a bit about the National Health Service in my little Homily about 1948, but it does seem so sad that the current government are picking it apart in the name of austerity, and yet it was set up in a period of austerity, and was something to be proud of. Any road. I won’t go on about this or anything. I’ll just mention what was set up by the socialists in 1949. Legal Aid. There you go. I won’t breathe another word, because you will just dismiss me as a mad old dead red under the bed. But just think on.
I’ll tell you what else was brought in in 1949. National Ruddy Service. And that had a direct effect on our household, because they only went and conscripted little Cyril.
I had mixed feelings about it. He was doing well for himself in Hilversum’s wireless repair shop. And it seemed to me that with Hitler out of the way, we didn’t need any more soldiers, but they decided that they did in their wisdom, and there wasn’t a lot I could do about it. He wasn’t going to be a conscientious objector, so off he went.
To be honest, when I look at how my nephew Michael turned out, I’m not so sure that a bit of National service wouldn’t have done him some good. After all, it taught blokes to polish their ruddy shoes and tuck their shirts in. But then when I think about it, I think that on the whole we are better off without it. Its increasing the size of the Army, with impressionable and largely obedient youngsters, thats what it is. What would have happened if we had had national service in the Miner’s strike eh? It wouldn’t have just been bobbies smacking people over the head with truncheons. They would have had the youth of the country under the orders of the generals. It hardly bears thinking about.
And don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes with talk of a non military “charitable” national service either. Looking after the elderly and infirm, cutting peoples gardens, driving meals on wheels and what nots. That’s just replacing a decent welfare state and Social Service system with cheap labour!
But little Cyril got an half decent deal, because of his growing knowledge with wirelesses, he got put in some sort of a communications division, where they put his talents to good use and taught him a fair bit more an’all. And he hardly ever had to touch a gun neither, which is a bonus in my book. And my Raymond’s book too if you must know. He reckoned that he had done enough shooting for our family thank you very much.
Auntie Doris’s Pop Pick of 1949: “Enjoy Yourself (its later than You Think)” By Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians. Good advice. There I was in 1949 celebrating my 35th birthday. Time ruddy well flies, doesn’t it.