cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Today’s ds106 Daily Create Challenge was a photographic one:

I’ve Been Down So Long”¦ Take a Photo that represents the essence of Blues music

I wrote this one in myself, metaphoric challenges are some of the more interesting ones to me. IMHO, this one should be not taking blue as a color but as a genre of music, of life, of all it represents as gut scraping emotion. I recall one interview with Stevie Ray Vaughan where he described the musical sounds as those of simple life, of trains grinding into town, of a slow broom moving across a dusty floor, of thunder, of the sound of a lover saying goodbye (I am way paraphrasing, stretching his words).

Today I let the challenge stew a bit and thought a bit throughout the day how to set up a shot. I aimed for all the metaphors I could loaded into one (and maybe this gets mixed up a bit with the so called typical subject o a country song, but they are distance cousins). This is set up on my coffee table, which had a yearly oil and shine this week. It was already 6pm so the day light coming in the window was dim, but I lit a corner light far away, and set up a spotlight with a work lamp I have been using to light indoor object shots (using daylight temp CF bulbs).

So I grabbed a few things– I write the opening to a Dear John letter on lined paper, took a propane bill and write “OVERDUE” in red letters, got Dominoe’s old dog collar to represent the missing or dead dog, 7 cents to be whats in my pocket, there are all the things the world might through at a person. What does one have to deal? A glass of Scotch, and a blues harp. Just wail on that harp, wail the blues away (I am not quite there with my playing, it sounds more like sick geese).

A few other versions:


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

The blues an music derived from it are my favorite kind of music. That’s why I tossed in this Daily Create Challenge. O grabbed the sense of it from one song that popped in my head, the Doors version of “I’ve Been Down So Long”

Well, I’ve been down so Goddamn long
That it looks like up to me
Well, I’ve been down so very damn long
That it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don’t one you people
C’mon and set me free

I said, warden, warden, warden
Won’t you break your lock and key
I said, warden, warden, warden
Won’t ya break your lock and key
Yeah, come along here, mister
C’mon and let the poor boy be

Baby, baby, baby
Won’t you get down on your knees
Baby, baby, baby
Won’t you get down on your knees
C’mon little darlin’
C’mon and give your love to me, oh yeah

Well, I’ve been down so Goddamn long
That it looks like up to me
Well, I’ve been down so very damn long
That it looks like up to me
Yeah, why don’t one you people
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon and set me free

The word is the song is based after the novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me by Richard Fariña. The book is not a bluesy story, in fact it is described as a comedy, but get this twist on what happened to the author (from Wikipedia):

On April 30, 1966, two days after the publication of his book, Fariña attended a book-signing ceremony at a Carmel Valley Village bookstore, the Thunderbird (to be followed the next day by another at the Discovery Bookshop in San Francisco). Later that day, while at a party, he saw a guest with a motorcycle and went for a ride up Carmel Valley Road east toward Cachagua on the back of the motorcycle. At an S-turn””coincidentally, just above the place on the Carmel River where John Steinbeck set the frog hunt that the Cannery Row denizens perform in the novel Cannery Row””the driver lost control. The motorcycle flopped on one side on the right side of the road, came back to the other side and tore through a barbed wire fence into a field where there is now a small vineyard. The driver survived, but Farina was killed instantly

Dark.

Fariña apparently did get that book title (which became the Doors blues song) from a 1928 old school blues tune by Furry Lewis:

When I was in Missouri : would not let me be
Wouldn’t rest content : till I came to Tennessee

If you follow me baby : I’ll turn your money green
I show you more money : Rockerfeller ever seen

If the river was whiskey : baby and I was a duck
I’d dive to the bottom : Lord and I’d never come up

Lord the woman I hate : I see her every day
But the woman I love : she’s so far away

Talk about *sweetheart* : I declare I’m a honest man
Give my woman so many dollars : it broke her apron string

All she give me was trouble : I’m troubled all the time
I been troubled so long : trouble don’t worry my mind

I been down so long : it seem like up to me
Woman I love : she done quit poor me

What’s the need of me hollering : what’s the need of me crying
Woman I love : she don’t pay me no mind

So if you don’t want to be down with the blues, pick yourself up off that killing floor and start doing some Daily Creates!

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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