Monday, February 11, 2008

Jerry "Boogie" McCain

Jerry "Boogie" McCain is the most raging harmonica slayer the world has, and will ever know. Jerry McCain was born on June 19, 1930 in Gadsden, Alabama and has called the town home all of his life. He was the youngest of five children. His mother played guitar in the Holiness Church. Jerry started playing the harmonica at age five. He recorded a a dozen or so amazing lo-fi singles for Excello and Trumpet records. My favorite of these recordings are the ones where Jerry, rather than hire a drummer, just quickly taught his his brother Walter just enough to get the song on tape. There is just something so ass-kicking about Walter's drumming, especially on "A Cutie Named Judy," that you have to wonder what the fuck did Jerry tell him to do? And check out "Geronimo Rock n Roll" where Jerry rewrites history, explaining Geronimo's reason for fighting, "They wouldn't let him rock." This is where the blues of the American South came colliding into this new thing called rock and roll, and Jerry McCain's enthusiasm and excitement over such a prospect comes pouring forth from his music, his voice, and his demonic harping. His charm and style are inimitable and his skills with a harmonica remain unmatched. Jerry still lives in Gadsden and occasionally still performs with as much fire and pomp as his 78 year old self can muster up, which from eyewitness accounts, is still quite a bit. Although sources tell me that these performances come less frequently since the death of Jean Spanks, Jerry's third and most beloved wife, in 1997 from cancer. His reputation around Gadsden is one of a friendly, funny, man. Even though he hasn't seen a whole lot of the world outside of Alabama, Jerry still exudes wisdom and a sharp intellect. In the '80s he wrote a song called "Burn The Crack House Down," stating "I just put that song together on account of all this crack all over the world. Most of my songs tell a story. I don't like to write a song, just to be writing a song to make some money. I must tell a story. I have to tell a story." And tell stories he does, stories with vibrant southern characters like the philandering Uncle John, the cutie named Judy, and that goddamned pesky next-door neighbor. Jerry McCain is the epitome of the smooth southern hustler, a real life folk hero and an American treasure, respect!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said... seems to me there is way more guitar than harmonica in the recordings.