Two years ago Carol and I spent a perfect summer day at a local blues fest called Barnful of Blues.
Outdoors, gorgeous day, excellent music. We had a quietly spectacular time, just the two of us sitting side by side enjoying each others' company and the music.
Carol brought her crocheting and was working on a bedspread that she recently completed. It is intricate, delicate and beautiful.She had the bedspread across her knees as she worked on it and people kept stopping by to admire it.
I had a cooler with me holding a couple of beers and a little whiskey. I was a very well behaved boy, consuming just enough alcohol to perfectly complement the scene.
I have a friend, Skip Philbrick, who has been playing the blues all his life. Just to give you a feel for his lineage, there is a guy who is still around named Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson. Luther played in the Muddy Waters band.
If you are not a fan of the blues you have no idea how huge that is. Muddy was born in 1913 and is often described as "the father of modern Chicago blues".
Skip toured for three years with Luther. That makes Skip one step removed from Muddy Waters, baby. I have a great deal of respect for Skip and am grateful to call him friend.
Skip's band played at this blues fest and they played a song that Skip wrote called "When Judgement Day Comes."
Goddamn song knocked me on my ass. The words, the music, the everything. I fell in love with it.
Skip visits the liquor store I work in and I began to pester him about the lyrics to the song but it is hard to get it all down on the run. I tried to find it online but it was invisible (although now, if you Google Skip Philbrick, you will stumble across a link titled: Skip Philbrick Blues Band Live @ Barnful of Blues 2014 - YouTube. Go there immediately and enjoy.)
Fast forward to 2016. Skip recently recorded a CD with some lifelong blues musician friends of his that includes "When Judgement Day Comes." I bought one. My love for the song is now requited.
"You been cheatin' on your woman, you been lying to your friends, stealin' from the people you know. You just don't do no right boy, your soul is dark as night, tell me, how can you stoop so low.
Your father tried to reach you, ah your mother cried in vain, the preacher even said a prayer for you. All you ever done boy was run and cheat and hide now tell me, what makes you do the things you do."
There are two more verses and this magnificent chorus: "What you gonna do when the judgement day comes, the devil he comes looking for you, how you gonna hide boy from Satan's evil eyes, when Jesus turns his back on you."
BOOM. Fucking fantastic.
The words are right in your face and the music creates the perfect mood for what is being said.
I have always said that "Like A Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan is one of the greatest fuck you songs of all time. I gotta put "When Judgement Day Comes" right up there.
AND the song is without a doubt one of my favorite songs, ever. A song written by a friend of mine, Skip Philbrick.
How very, very cool.
The day of the blues fest Skip wandered over to shoot the shit with me and Carol and to sip a little of my whiskey.
A little while later he was up on stage.
It was like a scene out of a blues documentary.
Man, I got me some cool connections.