‘Oscar’, Keith Russell and I turned up at Pompey Grammar yesterday for a reunion of some of the fine specimens that departed the place back in the late 1960s. Some guys had never been back and they didn’t all recall it with great fondness, but it was a nice day. They showed us quite a number of old images from the Archive including
I remember these guys by sight but I have no idea of their names. They were older than me and I doubt whether we ever spoke. Unlike Keith and Oscar (and me), I don’t think they hung out in the local clubs.
But if you look closely at the book, you’ll see it is one of the classics of the blues world of the period – when earnest white men (many quite young) were out-and-about in the USA trying to discover the whereabouts of the old pre-war blues men. That book is by the British academic Paul Oliver, Conversations with the Blues in which he travelled the deep south recording interviews with all kinds of old blues guys, mostly retired or working in menial jobs. These days you can buy that book with a CD of the conversations but I remember having it as just the book as well as similar publications and I devoured all of it. It just surprised me to discover there were others at the school who I didn’t know, doing the same thing. But it was a nice surprise.