Hound Dog Taylor’s Natural Boogie
Friends, I think we’ll wind up this weeks finger freakshow leanings with the natural boogie now. I mean, this stuff with the fingers ain’t all that uncommon far as me an Randy can tell, seems we known a good few folk around as lost bits of they hands to machinery, misfortune or stupidity. Somehow, it don’t never seem to be those as was born with extra in the first place, which don’t seem right to me. Cousins marryin’ – you’d think by now they’d have stopped with that but it seems it’s like smoking or sumthin’. Some folks just don’t wanna quit it.
Anyways, when I first heard about Hound Dog Taylor havin’ six fingers I thought it was just some typical blues myth business, or a story what had started out as sumthin’ to do with the way he played the slide guitar y’know? Turns out he really did have six fingers and the man was a livin’, breathin blues myth hisself. Started out playin’ in the 50’s and was only known ’round Chicago for long years ’til someone decides they should record him about 1970. This here record is his second, came out in ’73 he recorded more but most o’ that came out after he died. Waited all them years for some notice and went out almost soon-as to lung cancer in 1975. There’s a myth the extra finger bugged him so he got real drunk and took it off with a straight razor but I ain’t no idea if that one’s true. I don’t think he could play with it whatever, it was a nub of a thing what you’d call vestigal like that tail of our friend Charlene has.
Now then friends, if you’d say Django made his two fingers sound like more the Hound Dog didn’t really make much of his. He ain’t what you’d call a real intricate or sophisticated player – played slide for one thing which is basically just playin’ with one finger anyhow. Like all right thinkin’ folk, ‘specially when it comes to the slide guitar, he was a big fan of Elmore James. He took the way Elmore played with a lot of power and some stingin’ lead and he played it even wilder and more raucous. Hound Dog said hisself “When I die they’ll say ‘He couldn’t play shit, but he made it sound good'” This really is the original punk blues y’know? Raw, amped up and a-rockin’. Check out the slide squall that kicks off this album on ‘Take Five’ – take you five seconds to know that’s the real thing, and it ain’t no Dave Brubeck polite jazz thing, no sir. Why he didn’t call it take six is all I wanna know.