Tuesday, October 19, 2010


A month ago, after Ornette Coleman became the first jazz musician in this Top 100 list, I asked myself who the first blues musician would be. That there has to be blues in the Top 100 is a given, there has not been a Top 100 without it. The answer came to me after a night of playing records with some friends, selecting some highlights from my collection. Blue as a Man Can Be by Robert Pete Williams is certainly one of those highlights, and the key track, Grown So Ugly, a classic. Fans of Captain Beefheart, who covered the song, certainly will appreciate the original by Robert Pete Williams. Williams is not that well known a blues singer but points for Grown So Ugly as well as Prisoner's Talking Blues, a most desperate song in the blues idiom, catapulted him into the top 50 of musicians over 28 years of counting, and as blues goes, second to only John Lee Hooker. In another list kept over 28 years, Prisoner's Talking Blues entered the top 50 of songs, and as blues goes, second only to R.L. Burnside's Going Down South. The painting, unlike my recent laboring with the oils, got done in just a bit over half an hour. It's from an image in Blue's Who's Who, that I also used when I first started illustrating the Top 100 back in 1989.
Robert Pete Williams
7.5" x 7.5"
oil on wood, 2010

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