Today’s pick has its origins for me from a soundtrack of a mediocre movie called, “Big Bad
Love” (2001.) I don’t remember a lot about the plot of the film, but I do remember instant love
for the music in it. I immediately bought the album. The compilation would make anyone sit
up and take notice.
Boxcar Blues, Performed by Kenny Brown
I Love You, Performed by Asie Payton
Come On In (Live,) Performed by R.L. Burnside
She Asked Me So I Told Her, Performed by T-Model Ford
My Baby’s Gone, Performed by Robert Belfour
Sleepwalkin’, Performed by Tom Verlaine
Everything Is Broken, Performed by R.L. Burnside
Junior’s Place, Performed by Junior Kimbrough
Long Way Home, Performed by Tom Waits
Goodbye, Performed by Steve Earle
Spiritual, Performed by Tom Verlaine & Kronos Quartet
Jayne’s Blue Wish, Performed by Tom Waits
As you might guess, it was VERY difficult choosing one from this bunch. I decided on, “She
Asked Me So I Told Her,” performed by T-Model Ford. I chose it because of the contagious
guitar playing, T-Model Ford’s heart-felt lament, and how he was able to convey so much in
so few lyrics. This song jumps but it also gives the listener the feels, be it knowing smiles atthe situation, a bit of sympathy for the man who couldn’t help himself, or the happies at
listening to pure quality blues.
For the song draft I don’t like to cut and paste too much from other sources, but I think it’s
important to know a little about T-Model Ford, so here it is from wiki.
James Lewis Carter Ford (~ June 24, 1923 – July 16, 2013,) born in Forest, Mississippi,was
an American blues musician, using the name T-Model Ford…
According to music writer Will Hodgkinson, who met and interviewed Ford for his book Guitar
Man, Ford took up the guitar when his fifth wife left him and gave him a guitar as a leaving
present. Ford trained himself without being able to read music or guitar tabs. Hodgkinson
observed that Ford could not explain his technique. He simply worked out a way of playing
that sounded like the guitarists he admired — Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
Ford toured juke joints and other venues, for a while opening for Buddy Guy. In 1995, he was
discovered by Matthew Johnson of Fat Possum Records, under which he released five
albums from 1997 to 2008.
In 1997 T-Model Ford was featured in a 26-minute documentary JUKE Directed by Mary
Flannery and produced by Yellow Cat Productions. T-Model appeared along with Farmer
John and John Horton.
Since 2008, Ford worked with the Seattle-based band, GravelRoad. The project began as a
single event, with Ford needing assistance to play the Deep Blues Festival in Minnesota in
July 2008. GravelRoad, longtime fans of Ford and performers already scheduled for the
festival, agreed to provide support for a ten-show United States tour for Ford through July.
Ford had a pacemaker inserted at the end of that tour, but appeared on stage again with
GravelRoad in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He suffered a stroke in early 2010, but despite difficulty
with right-hand mobility, managed to complete a successful tour with GravelRoad. This tour
concluded with an appearance at Pickathon Festival. Ford and GravelRoad opened the third
day of the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival, in New York over Labor Day weekend, 2010,
curated by American independent film-maker Jim Jarmusch.
GravelRoad backed Ford on his 2010 and 2011 albums, The Ladies Man and Taledragger,
both released by Alive Naturalsound Records.
Ford suffered a second stroke in the summer of 2012 that limited his public appearances.
However, he was able to perform at that year’s King Biscuit Blues Festival in October.
On July 16, 2013, Fat Possum announced that Ford died at home in Greenville of respiratory
failure, after a prolonged illness.
The Mount Zion Memorial Fund, organised the placing of a headstone for Ford at Green
Lawn Memorial Gardens Cemetery, near Greenville, Mississippi. The ceremony was on May
31, 2014. The grave marker was designed by Amos Harvey and engraved by Alan Orlicek.
Youtube video: https://youtu.be/miTebhb0dD8