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 The Blind Photographer

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NoCoPilot

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Posts : 13203
Join date : 2013-01-16
Age : 64
Location : Seattle

PostSubject: The Blind Photographer   Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:55 am

Couple weeks ago I was out shopping, caught the tail end of a really nice song on the radio. Very funky, almost a Meters vibe. Unfortunately I reached the grocery store before the radio had a chance to announce who had just played.

My car stereo has a display on it, which, if the song being played is new enough to have the info embedded, will display the artist, title and album. This works on CDs, MP3s, Bluetooth... and broadcast. So I glanced at the screen as I got ready to turn off the car and caught just a tiny bit of information before the next song came on. The artist was "Henry..." something and the scrolling song title display ended with "...nd Strut."

That was all I got.

The Meters did a song called "Cissy Strut" (and a couple variations "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Chicken Strut") so it made sense that a Meters-like song would have the word "strut" in it. When I got home I checked my Meters compilation boxed set, and checked online for Zigaboo Modeliste, anything ending in "Strut." Googled "...nd Strut" + "Henry" and checked Discogs for the same combination. No luck.

So I gave up. Put aside the note I'd made with the fragmentary info.

The note's been sitting next to my computer ever since, accusing me of giving up too easily.

Yesterday, consumed by guilt, I made another stab at it. I opened up YouTube and entered the data. Bingo! A video came up of a blind pianist being led onstage, with his white cane and sunglasses, at some New Orleans music festival. He sits down and says, "My, what a bunch of lovely women in the audience tonight!" Chuckles all around.

Then he begins playing "The Game Band Strut" and yup, it's my song. Henry Butler!

Found the album it was from on iTunes -- most of the songs on "Homeland" and his other albums are vocal tracks, but eventually I find enough instrumentals to put together a nice CD. "Game Band Strut" is far & away his nicest track, but the rest are nice New Orleans jazz including several Doctor John songs.

Turns out Butler died just recently, July 2018. Turns out his debut album, "Fivin' Around" (1986) was something I reviewed when I had an album review column.

Reading further about him, on Wikipedia, turns out he was an accomplished photographer.
Wikipedia wrote:
Butler pursued photography as a hobby since 1984, as an outgrowth of attending art exhibits in Los Angeles and asking friends to describe featured works.[9] His methods and photos were featured in an HBO2 documentary, Dark Light: The Art of Blind Photographers, that aired in 2010.[10] Butler's photographs were also shown in galleries in New Orleans.
I wonder how THAT works?

Anyway, kudos to the internet one more time.
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