Wednesday, 17 August 2011

School Of Blues

Jimmy D. Lane learnt from the source - now he's giving back.

It’s a universal truth that education is important, it’s paramount, it’s what sets you up for life and informs all your decisions from the moment you become educated, until the moment you die.  Along the way you pick up life experience of course, and this adds to your education and so you become wise and you become enlightened and you fill yourself with knowledge, and as even the most out of touch individual will tell you, knowledge is Power.  You can do a lot with Power, just ask Richard Nixon, although he abused his power and it almost seemed, in the hazy aftermath, that he might not have had the education he thought he did.

My education was simple and, so I like to tell myself after the last dregs have been drunk and there’s no more tobacco left, effective.  I’m here, aren’t I?  That’s the truth, that’s the knowledge in fact.  My musical education was also simple, and it’s an ongoing thing, and I think it’s fair to say that it goes a bit deeper than your run-of-the-mill schooling, although perhaps my parents wouldn’t be wont to agree, but this is my business now, and so it’s an education that keeps on growing.  It’s also an education which feeds my emotions and my feelings and my moods, and so I’m becoming wise and enlightened and as for abuse of this Power, well, only for good.

My musical education though, as much as it informs what I do now, is a different kettle of fish to others’.  Indeed, it’s small fry compared to some others’ and whilst it’s important to me, it’s not anything out of the ordinary really and what other people go through in terms of a musical education is deeper and more intrinsic than mine was – I don’t play professionally for example, and neither do I aspire to.  Others though, damn man, they do play, and some of them?  Well, not only did they receive an education on the matter, but they were most likely born with it, before they even emerged from the womb, they were dripping with it.  And then, they expanded, because as you know, knowledge is Power.  And in music, that’s a damn powerful thing indeed.

I spoke to Jimmy D. Lane last month.  In an email post-interview, he called me a “very well informed gentleman”, and I’ll take that one to the bank.  Now, Jimmy D. most likely isn’t a man you’ll hear too much of around the blues traps, and this is a shame really.  You’ll know his father though, one Jimmy Rogers, a man who could sling a guitar with the best of them, and in fact, he was one of the best of them, he played with everyone from A to Z, and he was the man.  He’s probably most known for playing with Mr. Muddy Waters through the ‘50s, and it’s through him, Mr. Rogers, that his son’s musical education began.

“One of his songs that really stands out in my mind – well, there’s actually a couple – is ‘Walkin’ By Myself’, you never tire of hearing that song,” Lane tells, almost dreamily, from his front porch, where he’s been “having a smoke and waiting for this call”.  “And at his funeral service, Kim Wilson from the Fabulous Thunderbirds and myself, we performed ‘The Last Time’, which was another of his songs, that’s always been a favourite of mine.  He’s had quite a few songs that musicians migrate towards, you know?  Especially guitar players, they’re drawn to that rhythm he played, he was a fantastic rhythm player, he and Muddy complimented each other very well, so those are two of my picks of his songs.”

Samuel J. Fell

(except - published in September issue of 

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