Friends will let you down.
You learn that as you fall in and out love and form friendships that flare bright before they fade away.
So, you’re left all alone with The Blues.
And, you can hug those blues close to get you through.
The Blues becomes your old and trusted friend.
But, remember, remember, sometimes you are the lover who walks away.
Remember, remember, sometimes you are the friend who’s doing the letting down.
So, don’t make The Blues your best and only friend.
We all get The Blues.
We all need The Blues to get through the lost loves and the failed friendships.
Loss and failure hurt.
But, they go with the territory.
Love and Friendship will be the treasures of your Life.
The Blues will see you through until you’re ready to face the joys and pains of Love and Friendship again.
Dont lean too long on your old friend The Blues.
Love again. Be a Friend again.
Meantime let’s have a hugely enjoyable wallow with our old friend The Blues courtesy of the young Steve Earle (this is a quintessential young man’s song).
Paradoxically it’s young hearts that feel the weariest.
Ah … a shiver of recognition and illicit pleasure in pain for all of us there!
Steve Earle, a natural songwriter, came out of San Antonio Texas fit to burst with energy and a desire to tell stories about the way the world was and the way it damn well should be.
‘Guitar Town’ from 1986 was his breakthrough record announcing him as a literate, rocking, rough, rowdy, romantic and righteous artist who was here to stay.
You could hear the influences of Folk Icon Woody Guthrie and Texas troubadours Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt
Add in a dash of on’ry ol Waylon Jennings and workshirt era Bob Dylan and you’ve got a very potent and occasionaly explosive mixture which near guaranteed a vesuvial flow of songs.
Steve Earle’s best songs have drama and impact and emotional reach.
Across the Atlantic in Scotland, ‘My Old Friend The Blues’ reached the tender heart of Eddi Reader who was surely born to sing room stilling ballads.Embed from Getty Images
Listen to her here bring the same focus and sensitivity she gives to the songs of Robert Burns to Steve Earl’s cancion Triste.
Eddi has a voice that can croon or keen.
A voice laden with ancient knowing.
A quiet voice that sounds loud in your heart.
A voice of balm for weary hearts wherever they may beat.
Staying in Scotland we now turn to twins Charlie and Craig Reid, The Proclaimers.
Their Records are distinguished by the fierce commitment they bring to every song they sing.
Which, of course, brings even more allure to their tender moments.
The Proclaimers bring a stark echoing intensity to My Old Friend The Blues.
Patty Loveless is a blue Kentucky Girl – a State where lovelorn ballads are not exactly in short supply!
Patty made her mark at the same time as Steve Earle and like him she had done her fair share of hard traveling before she had the spotlight directed at her centre stage.
Playing small bars and clubs in nameless towns she learned a lot about lonely nights and weary hearts.
She also learned that if you have a voice shot through with plaintive grace you could offer a ray of hope to those battered hearts all around – including her own.
I’m showcasing a live version suffused with bluegrass duende.
Speaking of Duende, as we collect the glasses and turn out the lights let’s have one more take from Steve himself before we shut the doors.
Just when every ray of hope was gone ….
On those nights when sleep seems loath to appear and knot up ravelled care you can always turn to an old friend – The Blues.
Then, when dawn breaks, as it always miraculously does, take that weary heart of yours and go in search of love and friendship once again.