Blues: who carried a blade?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Larry F, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Poor and enslaved peoples tend towards basics: cheap, cast offs, readily available. Very typically, slave owners allowed razors only (for shaving, of course) as they couldn't be used for stabbing (no point, folding, etc.). This was also true of sailors, even though they needed knives for rope work, no sharp 'stabbing' points were allowed. Humans are inventive, if nothing else. Not surprisingly, fighting styles developed around straight razors. This was scary/thrilling to middle-class white folks and many popular (racist) songs were written with razors in the lyric. Example: the LOC has a copy of "Razors In The Air" from 1880 (no composer or lyricist is listed). It was covered by the Kingston Trio in 1961. With typical racisms of the period, razor totin' became the calling card of black folks in song and stories. One of my favorite lines from one of these songs is from "Big Bad Bill is Sweet William Now" (Billy Murray, 1924). The lyric is: "...just shaves with a razor now."

    It is reasonably difficult to inflict much more than a surface wound with a straight razor in a fight. You aren't stabbing, you're swinging for cuts...slice and dice. Because of the way it has to be held for effective fighting, you don't have much blade exposed in order to maintain control of it. Typical fights weren't about killing, murder is awkward. Cutting someone up was hardly a misdemeanor. Yah, there were many exceptions. Still, a straight razor is awkward to use for deep cutting unless your medium is not moving. A butcher doesn't use a straight razor even though his medium is reasonably still...they're awkward for making deep cuts thru muscle and sinew, not enough pressure can be applied without a fixed handle.

    A fixed knife, esp a dagger or stiletto is much more dangerous in a fight (which is why they've been banned in many places). However, I would say that training makes the tool. I've always felt that the USMC Ka-Bar is a better entrenching tool than a knife but put one in the hands of a Marine...

    I carry a 3" pocketknife daily. It opens packages and envelopes and trims my fingernails if I break one, sharpens pencils too. If someone threatened me, it would probably be the last thing I thought about using for self defense. I have no training at all for such stuff. Feet don't fail me now!
     
  2. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    You can tell those chimps are not experienced knife fighters....you never hold a knife that way in a fight!!
     
  3. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Yes, this is the book. I am rereading it, as there is so much detail and first-person stories. Fantastic book. Makes me love him even more.
     
  4. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well, if we're talking about blues music let's not forget that the majority of the songs are about sex, male/female relationships and declaring how much of a man you are.....so a knife or blade makes a very convenient 'penis/virility' metaphor. The blues was full of those.
     
  5. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Just read in the book that most blues players in Chicago during Wolf's time carried handguns.

    One story that I'm not sure is from the book, is someone pulling a gun on a guy in a group of band members standing offstage. It could have been Hubert who told this, as it fits with his unique sense of humor. What was so "funny" about this is the way he described how the guys scrambled to get behind one another. Nothing came of it.
     
  6. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    How about other blues musicians? Were the Texas and west coast guys known for carrying weapons?
     
  7. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    who didn't carry a knife? I carried a razor when I was in high school. My friend kept a sawed-off shotgun in the trunk of his MGB - and pulled it out as a dissuader on occasion. Another friend used to shoot targets in an empty corner lot from his bedroom window - in the middle of the city. We weren't blues men, we were just high school kids in an urban environment. America is a crazy place; in many ways I am glad to have left that all behind.
    I got a scar almost like that. Mine is from pulling the after-market alloy-and-hardwood-rim steering wheel from my 850 Mini. It was hard to release, but when it came loose it hit me full-on in the head!
     
  8. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Awesome. I am looking forward to it. It’s in the batter’s box right now; I am reading a collection of short blues bios to warm me up (another discard).
     
  9. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Best piece of advice: don't bring a quinoa salad to a potluck dinner. There are probably four or five there already.
     
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  10. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Don't bring a quinoa salad to my house unless you want to get stabbed.
     
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    (Pulls knife hidden in quinoa salad out!)
     
  12. Dan Skammer

    Dan Skammer Tele-Meister

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    I believe Keef used to carry a rachet knife,he's been known to be a blues guy ..ain't he?
     
  13. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    I have a small 3" foldaway blade that I keep in a small tool kit at the bottom of my bike pannier. So if anyone wants to start a fight with me, there will be a few minutes of rummaging around first, oh and I'm likely to be wearing cycling shorts. Not very blues I'm afraid..
     
  14. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Ah, you've been to dinners in Iowa City.
     
  15. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    :lol::lol::lol:

    The world is a small place.
     
  16. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    I'm not going bald. I don't go through metal detectors, all I'm going to say about that.
     
  17. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    ?
     
  18. Bluesboy3

    Bluesboy3 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    This is not just a blues phenomenon (as has been mentioned). I know an Emo dude that carries a brass knuckles, and an Adult Contemporary guy that has a shank on him at all times.
     
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  19. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    CCM = open carry.
     
  20. gimmeatele

    gimmeatele Tele-Holic

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    R. L Burnside just shot em
     
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