Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Buddy Guy and Saving the Past

Went last week with LilBro and The Old Man to see Buddy Guy, one of my musical heroes (do yourself a favor, click on that link and let the bluesy goodness soak in while you read).

As always, he put on an unbelievable show -- the man looks good and has a new CD out, Skin Deep. LilBro got incredible tickets (you da man) and what struck me was what he has turned his live show into -- a living museum of the blues. Here's a guy who was the pivot between the old and the modern, and he's seen the greats on both sides of that divide leave us. He literally plays the styles and tunes from the early delta, through Muddy and Wolf, up through the Kings, onto Jimi and Stevie Ray. All along there's his own old stuff, his new stuff, and the repeated hope that someday this music will be on the radio again.

There's the joy and the passion, his remarkable showmanship, but this somber sense that he has something of value that needs to be saved. He makes sure to not only entertain you, but to school you. He is trying to make sure the past lives on.

It was the same thing I've found doing oral history interviews with relatives and students of the early logical empiricists, the sense that there is something they know to be important that could be lost if someone doesn't take the time and effort to intentionally bring it out.

What else is in this class? What should we be mindful about not losing? What else is there of historical and/or cultural value that "progress" and fashion could remove from our collective conscience?