Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Otis Taylor "Resurrection Blues"

I’d love for you to hear the song I’m writing about today, but you can’t.

It was only played once, and never spoken of again. Until now.

I was reminded of it during the mvyradio Holiday staff party this year, where I snapped a few of the photos below, to give you some context.

Back nearly a decade ago, my girlfriend and I had gone to see blues musician Otis Taylor at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs.

For those who have never been there, Offshore is a great restaurant and brew-pub, with a great love of music. There’s not a stage, per se. If they bring a band in, they set them up in the back, near the fireplace, and move a few tables out of the way.

Somewhere in the middle of this show, one of the guys in the band broke a string. While he was getting set back up, Otis told the crowd he’d make up a song.

He said he did that from time to time, as a challenge to himself.

“Gimme an idea. Something to sing about. I'll make up a song on the spot.”

I don’t know if the crowd was fully stumped, didn’t believe him or what, but his request was met with a stretch of silence.

I needed to fill it, by shouting the first word that popped into my head:


“Swordfish!?!?!?” His face was half-bemused, half-perplexed. “Swordfish?”

You could see him follow the eyes of the audience, who were all now looking, up, up, up, above his head, as his did a pretty well-timed, comic slow-take.

“Huh. Swordfish. Okay . . .”

And true to his word, he, on the spot, made up a blues guitar- and lyrical-riff, on “chasing that swordfish . . . “

Fortunately, his bandmate was ready to go in short-order, and “Swordfish” was quickly discarded, never to be played (or thought of, probably) again.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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