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Carl Hodges - Axel Kustner

Virginia guitarist Carl Hodges recorded for Pete Welding in 1961 (two sides, Blues All Around My Bed and Standing at the Greyhound Bus Station were issued on Savoy LP 181, Milestone LP 3002, and Storyville 842); he was also recorded by folklorist Kip Lornell in 1979 (two sides appear on Global Village's Virginia Traditions: Tidewater Blues CD, Global Village CD 1006). Hodges had quit his music in more recent years, but began playing again after Music Maker provided him with a guitar and booked him some gigs; he has since traveled to Holland to perform at Blues Estafette.

[I was born in] Middlesex County, Saluda, Virginia. My uncle, he could play a guitar. He started me when I was younger [at] home... about maybe eight, nine, ten years old. After I got older, enough to go, we played anywhere, everywhere, playin' parties, here, there, anywhere, 'cause that's all was goin' at that time, was guitars. Everything was guitars. I got music from older people, out of their mouths. The most songs that I'm singin', you hear me sing them songs, they came out of people's mouths. Not records. They was old people singin' 'em, they probably didn't even know where the records was... I used to know a lot more older songs, but after I grew up and went in spirituals, singing them, I forgot a lot of 'em. Stormy Weather, now that's an old song: Stormy weather, I can't get my poor self together/And keeps on rainin' all the time. Now that was an old song, that was a really old song, but then they pick it up and changed it. It wasn't sung the way they sing it now. It's a lot of different songs back there, just like I was standin' in the garden where the roses bloom/Oh me, oh me oh my/I saw somebody comin' and I stepped aside/Oh me, oh me oh my/I saw my baby that I thought that she loved me so/Oh me, oh me oh my. So it's just from one thing to another. It goes on and on and on. Blues is just like singin' spiritual or anything else, it's only what you put in it and your own feeling about it... all you can get out of it is what you put in it. It's just a feeling that's who you with, who you be around singin' 'em. And that's where the blues know who was you with and who enjoy 'em that you playin' 'em for. And that's any song. See, enjoyment. I don't care how good you play or what you is. If you don't like it, don't enjoy it, ain't nothin' to it.

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