It’s the birthday of blues singer and guitarist B.B. King

via Facebook: BLUES HISTORY OF THE DAY …
It’s the birthday of blues singer and guitarist B.B. King, born in Itta Bena, Mississippi (1925). He was born into a black sharecropping family on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta. He lived with his mother, who was very religious and made sure that he sang in the church choir. When his mother died, he had to survive by doing farm work. His uncle taught him guitar, and he bought an eight-dollar guitar for himself to learn on. He found he could make more money playing on street corners than he did doing farm work. He started by singing gospel, and everybody appreciated it but nobody gave him any money. So he tried singing secular, blues music, and used lyrics he knew from gospel songs, but sang “my baby” instead of “my Lord.” And from then on, passersby paid him.

He joined the Army during World War II and then moved to Memphis where he worked as a deejay using the on-air name “Beale Street Blues-Boy,” later shortened to B.B. He wrote in his autobiography: “Imagine my situation: Before Memphis, I never even owned a record player. Now I was sitting in a room with a thousand records and the ability to play them whenever I wanted. I was the kid in the candy store, able to eat it all. I gorged myself.” He performed with his red guitar, called Lucille, toured the country for two decades playing in black clubs and dance halls, and performed often in jails. In the song “Riding with the King,” he sang: “I stepped out of Mississippi when I was 10 years old / With a suit cut sharp as a razor and a heart made of gold / I had a guitar hanging just about waist high / And I’m gonna play this thing until the day I die.” He said, “Some people smoke and drink, but just holding the guitar and strumming a few notes seems to do it for me.”

King died in May, 2015; he was 89.

From the Writer’s Almanac for today.

Pastors, we could test this out … “He started by singing gospel, and everybody appreciated it but nobody gave him any money. So he tried singing secular, blues music, and used lyrics he knew from gospel songs, but sang “my baby” instead of “my Lord.” And from then on, passersby paid him.”

If we substitute “my baby” for “my Lord” in the worship service, will the offerings increase like they did for King?

People are strange …

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