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Clear & Obvious: Lead Belly and Julian Gressel and the beauty of overwhelming beauty

The blues is like this. You lay down some night and you turn from one side of the bed to the other all night long. It’s not too cold in that bed, and it ain’t too hot. But what’s the matter? The blues has got you.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In January of 1918, Huddie William Ledbetter killed a man. Killed him during a fight over a woman. In January of 1918 Huddie William Ledbetter went to jail. He’d be out in seven years.

Ledbetter, a musician nicknamed Lead Belly, had been in jail before. Escaped though. Took a new name after getting away from a chain gang. The second prison term ended up being a bit rougher. Lead Belly got stabbed by another inmate. In the got damn neck. He didn’t take too kind to that. He took the knife and nearly killed the man that had stabbed him —in. the got damn. neck.—moments earlier. He’d carry that scar and a bandanna to cover it for the rest of his life.

He’d also carry a 12-string guitar with him as much as he could. Pretty tough to do in prison. He’d been a musician for years though. He’d been playing and singing since at least 1903. He was probably 15 years old at that point.

But now he was in prison. Not a great place to be. He wanted out. So what do you do if you’re a musician trying to get out of prison? You write a song. What do you do if you’re a really smart musician trying to get out prison? You write a song to the ded gum Governor of Texas.

In 1925, Governor Pat Morris Neff pardoned Lead Belly after just seven years of a 35 year sentence. Neff had run on a platform of no pardons. But Lead Belly’s song and his regular Sunday performances at the prison —regularly attended by Neff and important guests of Neff—were just too powerful. Too beautiful. Too evocative.

Lead Belly played his way out of his prison. Just like we’re all trying to do. All hoping we’ll be able to be talented enough to do. All dreaming of being appreciated enough to do. Simply: Cared about enough without obligation attached to the person doing the caring for it to truly mean something to be cared about.


In August of 2019, Julian Gressel did this:

In August of 2019, Julian Gressel was not suspended by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

Sure, he could have potentially been suspended for that. But you would only suspend Julian Gressel for that if you were an absolutely total idiot.

Some people are upset about that. So what if he “slapped a guy” in the “face”, you idiots?

This is JULIAN. GRESSEL. YOU. IDIOTS.

Would you suspend Monet from painting? Would you suspend Gretta Van Fleet from making terrible music? Kubrick from cinematography? Of course not for two-thirds of those things. you idiots.

I mean just look at JULIAN. !@#%%%$@#$@#$. GRESSEL.

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Ok, so maybe this whole thing was just a Friday afternoon Julian Gressel appreciation post.

You’re welcome tbh. You Id—ok yeah you get it.