the Wolf: PLEASE read .and read again

Jim Levingston - Magnolia Music jiml@usunwired.net
Tue Jan 11 04:47:15 EST 2000


Dick,

I'm very sorry if I, along with everyone else at the concert
misinterpreted what they saw. Even still my original post stated that
Howlin Wolf was my blues hero and I was fortunate enough to see him in
concert. Then someone ask me to describe my impression of the concert.
I gave the most honest impression that I could. To be fair, I did not
judge him and if you would not have edited out most of what I wrote
about the concert you could easily see that I ended my narrative by
saying that I loved the concert and left it knowing that I had seen a
true blues legend.

As you stated, it was not something I read in a book, it was something
that I witnessed personally and I don't know how you expect everyone
at the concert, including myself to magically know that he had been to
the hospital for treatment. What were we to conclude. Nobody came out
on stage and stated any reason for the hour delay or mentioned
anything about a medical emergency, which would have been the normal
thing to do. All we knew was that we sat there for a solid hour until
this man came stumbling on stage with his arm bandaged up looking like
he had been run over by a train. In all honesty, if it were you in our
position without any inside knowledge what would you conclude.
Especially, as you suggested that Howlin' Wolf had a certain
reputation for being a kind of rough and tumble guy.

Again, I apologize for hurting your feelings. I understand that
knowing the man personally and knowing what he was going through would
make you especially sensitive to the situation. But you really can't
blame the 2500 people in the audience for coming to any other
conclusion. They were not privy to the inside info that you seem to
have had. I dare say that if you had not had the inside info you would
have come to the same conclusion as everyone else. I also think you
would have had the same reaction that I did (the part you clipped
out), you could have cared less what he looked like or how screwed up
he looked at the beginning of the show. By the end of the show you
would have walked away fully satisfied and you too would have known
you had seen something very special. I was such a Wolf fan at that
time that he could have been drunker than Cooter Brown and I would
have still loved him.

I understand your reaction, and you have set the record straight, but
please after you calm down, read over what I've been saying and try to
understand the situation without quite as much red in your eyes.

My apologies,

Jim Levingston

----- Original Message -----
From: <Jinxblues@aol.com>
To: <BLUES-L@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2000 12:39 AM
Subject: the Wolf: PLEASE read . . . . .


: In a message dated 1/9/00 10:22:30 AM, jiml@usunwired.net writes:
:
: >Both times were in Baton Rouge, La. One time he played at what is
commonly
: >known as Pete's Palace on the LSU campus. He was about an hour late
for
: >the show, apparently he found some Baton Rouge buddy's to hang out
with
: >and got carried away. He finally showed up with his arm bandaged
from about
: >four inches below and above the elbow, right where some one would
probably
: >attempt to shoot drugs or he may have been in a fight. He was very
fucked
: >up and had to sit in a chair and not play his guitar for the first
half
: >of the show. After about 30 minutes or so he came a little more
alive and
: >started playing his guitar some while he sang.
:
: I think that I am more upset about this than anything that I have
read in my
: time on Blues-L - almost five years.
:
: The statements made here are not only inaccurate, they create a
picture that
: leads to impressions that are false and terribly injurious to the
reputation
: of a human being. Regardless of who he was or what he did for a
living, these
: statements are beyond any decent assessment of human conduct.
:
: >He was about an hour late for
: >the show, apparently he found some Baton Rouge buddy's to hang out
with
: >and got carried away.
:
: During the last years of his life. Howling Wolf had to align his
touring
: dates with visits to VA hospitals for his kidney failure. He was a
veteran
: who got free dialysis treatment that took up to six hours of being
hooked
: onto a machine that cleansed his blood of toxic fluids.
:
: >He finally showed up with his arm bandaged from about
: >four inches below and above the elbow, right where someone would
probably
: >attempt to shoot drugs or he may have been in a fight.
:
: This was where the needle was inserted for his dialysis treatment.
Shoot
: drugs? I think not. I 'know' not.
:
: >He was very fucked
: >up and had to sit in a chair and not play his guitar for the first
half
: >of the show.
:
: He had just come from six hours being hooked onto a machine. Fucked
up? How
: about considering that he was weakened to the point where any normal
man
: would have gone to bed and slept for 10 or 12 hours.
:
: >After about 30 minutes or so he came a little more alive and
: >started playing his guitar some while he sang.
:
: Yes, I saw him do this many times. He struggled his way past the
: post-dialysis weakness and became almost self-hypnotized by his own
music. It
: overcame him and brought him to his feet as he got stronger.
:
: Let me say that your thoughts on Howling Wolf are not only
inaccurate, they
: would allow a misrepresentation of both his personal character and
his
: professional conduct.
:
: I knew Wolf very well over the course of many years. I never said he
was an
: easy man to know or like but I had - and still have - immense
admiration for
: the way he undertook the incredible task of subjecting his body to
six hours
: of kidney dialysis treatment and then going off to play a club gig
that night.
:
: I hope that my words will be read and that Blues-l members will
understand
: that I was there with Wolf. Not a story read from a book. Not second
hand.
: Not told to me by a band member. I watched him myself and I am upset
that,
: years later, someone would make a casual assessment of his valiant
fight.
:
: Dick Waterman
: Oxford, MS
:



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