On this day in 1808, Jefferson Davis was born. He lived to be an old, rich, and respected man—despite the fact that he was a traitor. Because, you know, he was a rich white man. We don’t do anything to people like that. After the Civil War, he got a slap on the wrist and then he was pretty much back to the style of life that he had been accustomed to before he committed treason against the United States.
It’s really interesting how many great female blues guitarists and singers came out of the south during the Great Depression. Of course, throughout history, poor women have always had to be strong. And these women were certainly that. You can hear it in their music. One of the best and most recorded was Memphis Minnie who was born in 1897 in Algiers, Louisiana. Here she is doing “Chauffeur Blues,” a song she used to wow the blues scene in Chicago in 1933. (This version is from 1941.)
Game show innovator Chuck Barris is 84 today. He wrote an amazing autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which he claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA while he was simultaneously creating shows like The Dating Game. Clearly, he’s not serious. The book is even subtitled, “An Unauthorized Autobiography.” But it is amazing that so many people take is seriously. That is, seriously enough to make even the CIA feel it must counter the claim. And that’s hilarious.
The day, however, belongs to poet Allen Ginsberg who was born on this day in 1926. I’m not that big a fan of his poetry. What I’m more impressed with is that work that he and Jack Kerouac did in bringing Naked Lunch to fruition. But there are poems by Ginsberg that I admire, especially “The Green Automobile.” Here is the beginning of it:
Happy birthday Allen Ginsberg!