Blues music/adultery

Ray Mikell
Thu Jul 31 12:32:47 EDT 1997

There's a very good reason people go for cheatin' songs and thus a very good
reason they're played. Even if someone is totally faithful, hearing about it
is like passing by a car wreck. In the case of the former, you usually can't
help but look and in the case of cheatin' songs you can't help but listen to
them. It's a primal thing. Ever read Ann Landers? Whenever she runs out of
ideas, she pulls out the cheatin' letters.
   "I would be wrong if I didn't tell you you're wasting your time and
should find a single man who will love you for who you are," she'll say to
"The Other Woman." "Now here's another opinion."
   About a month or so later, depending on how hard-pressed she is, she'll
bring out another few of the thousands of cheatin' letters I am sure she
gets. Occasionally she'll agree with the cheater on some obscure bit, and
have to give herself 50 lashes with a wet noodle, but otherwise everything
runs like clockwork.
  In soul cheatin' works really well 'cause of the churchy keyboards and
gospel-style singing, 'cause of the contrast between the sacred and the
profane -- two sides of the same coin, all that. Usually meant to be funny,
though in the case of "The Dark End of the Street" it's dramatic and disturbing.
  Just bought a piece of folk art from a woman in my Mississippi town. It's
a cross-like sign painted up all funky with "Love Thy Neighbor But Do Not
Get Caught." Told me she basically painted that 'cause she thought it was
hilarious, which it was.

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