Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adjective Noun: Bourgeois Blues

Possessed By Paul James - Bourgeois Blues


Konrad Wert (aka: Possessed By Paul James) was raised in the Florida Everglades by an Amish Menonite preacher. He takes on his stage name in honor of this father and grandfather, and he now makes his home in Texas. He is known for contorting his face in pleasure and apparent pain, and subsequently shakes, convulses, stomps and yells throughout his performances. When listening to his recorded material you can feel those shakes and all but see his face.

Once, on ninebullets, I wrote that watching PBPJ play is like watching a person birth music directly from their soul. It's awe inspiring.

The Bourgeois Blues was originally recorded by Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter. It was written after Lead Belly went to Washington, D.C. at the request of Alan Lomax, to record a number of songs for the Library of Congress. After they had finished, they decided to go out with their wives to celebrate, but were thrown out of numerous establishments for being an interracial party. The song rails against racism, classism, and discrimination in general, with such verses as "The home of the Brave / The land of the Free / I don't wanna be mistreated by no bourgeoisie".

Conrad's version can be found on the Hillgrass Bluebilly compilation, Hiram and Huddie. A double album tribute to Hank Williams and Huddie Ledbetter.

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