Big Creek Slim Twenty-Twenty Blues Straight Shooter – SHOT 033 All songs by Big Creek Slim
Certainly, 2020 was a year that most of us hope to forget, but never will. Big Creek Slim was in Brazil, “in quarantine in one of the world’s epicenters of coronavirus,” he says, “with all the polemics, boredom, paranoia, loneliness, despair and fading hopes that each and every one of us had to deal with.” His response was the album you hold in your hands, with 13 original songs, performed solo – “my contribution to the worldwide corona blues,” he explains. Big Creek makes an unflinching assessment of what he saw and heard. In “The Goddamn China Blues,” he’s more observational than judgmental, recognizing the loss, hardship, and broken lives in the wake of COVID-19. On the title track, Big Creek cites the killing of George Floyd as the latest in a history of lethal violence and discrimination that white America has perpetrated against the nation’s black population. He connects the Floyd killing to the murder of Emmett Till and the 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre in Tulsa, Okla., noting “how things didn’t change that much, and maybe they never will.” The album isn’t all social commentary, however, because a guitar player in quarantine is going to dig in and play some guitar. It features tunes such as “Little Wheel Rag” and “Up in Smoke,” which tap into the ragtime/medicine show legacy of such artists as Blind Boy Fuller and Pink Anderson. These offer a welcome counterweight to the burden of the year that was, because frankly, we’ll need to have something to smile about once these crazy days have passed.