jesse sublett, murder ballads, grave digger blues, austin, austin music

I saw a ghost today, while singing “Grave Digger Blues.” No joke. It’s on youtube.

A lot of things happened today. Not all of them right here, in my tiny office facing east, but here’s a couple of things I observed. For one thing, I read some startling news about Big Foot. Then some stuff about cheerleaders in East Texas. Had lunch at Hoover’s with a friend and writing colleague. I walked around Lady Bird Lake and went to the Y. I saw a ghost. Captured him or her on video, too. Check it out. It’s right at about the 3-minute mark, right after I come in singing falsetto, slightly off key, “I can still hear him cry, woo…”


Here’s the other highlights:

SCIENCE PROVES BIGFOOT IS REAL: That’s what I read today today in TM Daily Post, anyway.

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Why this character didn’t end up with the GOP nomination is beyond me

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The FIRST surrealist/blues/pulpfiction iPad novella, out now, on iTunes and Amazon. The Kindle version has over 100 cool photos and graphics; the Blues Deluxe Edition for iPad has music AND photos.

A team of scientists based in Nacogdoches claims to have successfully sequenced Bigfoot’s DNA. This “confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called ‘Bigfoot’ or ‘Sasquatch,’ living in North America,” according to an announcement by  Melba S. Ketchum, PhD., founder of DNA Diagnostics. A team of “experts in genetics, forensics, imaging and pathology” worked on the Bigfoot project for five years before releasing their conclusion. The announcement has been greeted with skepticism by other members of the scientific community, however, partially because the group has not released any of data to be examined and peer-reviewed, which is generally how scientists like to work.

“Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel,” says Ketchum, “and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence. Further study is needed and is ongoing to better characterize and understand Sasquatch nuclear DNA.” THe rest of the press release from DNA Diagnostics can be read here.

Doesn’t Joe Lansdale live in Nacogdoches? I know he lives way out in the Piney Woods, and he’s a great writer and a pretty weird guy. I would definitely trust him to go check this thing out. He could be working on it right now for his next novel. Joe, if you’re reading this, please get back to me.

And because Bigfoot makes me think of Big Foot Chester, the nickname of the great Chester Arthur Burnet, a k a Howlin’ Wolf, I am posting a poster of him right here, or rather, the last Howlin’ Wolf Birthday Tribute which I produced this year, and you’ll notice, my pals BigFoot Chester are on the bill. Cool band.

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And this also makes me think of Club Foot, the long-gone nightclub that used to be on 4th Street downtown, right where Frost Tower is now.

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The Skunks, L-RBill Blackmon, Jesse Sublett and young Jon Dee Graham, down in the basement dressing room at Club Foot, 1979.

A few decades, a few changes. That is indeed a 19-year-old Jon Dee Graham on the right, and me in the middle, Bill Blackmon on the left.

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CLICK below to see the video clip of the Skunks doing “Let’s Get Twisted.”

“Let’s Get Twisted” by The Skunks

If you were a devotee of Club Foot back in the day, or you have any interest in the history of the Austin music scene, and you’ve never seen the mini-doc “Dead Venues Live: Club Foot” you should see it right now.  Spoiler alert: I’m in it.

So then while I was reading about BigFoot (and by the way, a guy in Dallas claims that BigFoot threw a rock at him, I got sidetracked by this story about a small town in Texas where they’ve been letting the cheerleaders use run-through banners with Bible verses on them, which is dumb beyond belief, but this is Texas and football and like they say, in Texas football is like a religion, or it actually IS religion. This is happening in a small town called Kountze (I hope that’s not pronounced like I think it might be pronounced). After it was pointed out to school administrators that this kind of thing is frowned upon by the US Constitution, the banners were discontinued, then a temporary restraining order was issued, which allows the practice to continue until the matter is resolved in the courts.

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They’re just doing the Lord’s work, OK?

One cheerleader said that the ban only strengthens the group’s resolve: “I’m actually thankful for it,” Ashton Jennings told Houston’s CBS affiliate KHOU. “Because if someone hadn’t complained, or if there hadn’t been any opposition we wouldn’t have this chance to spread God’s word in this big of a way.”

Hey, isn’t that great? Because the Creator of the Universe really needs some high school cheerleaders to spread the word. You’d think He’d be able to get his message out without pom-poms and stuff. But then this last bit of the story took me by surprise:

Kountze’s previous claims to fame include being the first U.S. city to have a Muslim mayor as well as being home to the world’s only married armadillo couple—named Hoover and Star—according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

So then later I was recording a little demo on my iPad of the theme song to Grave Digger Blues. I’ve recently learned a new version that works in open G tuning on the acoustic guitar, and I kind of like it. So I’m recording it, one take, and near the end, this ghost flits through the image on the iPad screen. Seriously, this is no hoax, not a joke. I know I have a bad reputation for being a jokester, but I’m serious.

I saw the ghost go by, from left to right, while I was recording, and I thought, “Gee, that looks like a ghost, but I’ll keep recording because it’s near the end of the song.” Link to the youtube clip is below the screen shot below. The quality is crude and a couple of notes are off, but you know, I thought this was kind of interesting. The ghost–or whatever it is–appears right at 3:00 into the song, with 13 seconds to go. Right after the last refrain, where I come in with the falsetto “whoo-hoo” a little off-key, because my throat is shot again.

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Screen shot of the ghost–almost like snot flying out of my nose. Click below for video.

“Grave Digger Blues” in open G with ghost drive-by

So, yeah, here we are, at the end. We have the Abominable Snowman, a k a The Yeti, Sasquatch and/or Big Foot, being declared genuine by some scientists based in the piney woods of East Texas. We have cheerleaders spreading the word of God (and damn the Constitution, anyhow), in good old’ East Texas. And I’m playing this song, inspired by the great blues songster from Nacogdoches, Mance Lipscomb, and a ghost appears. These things could be connected, don’t you think?

I don’t know what to do, other than put it on YouTube, and I already did that. Actually the best part of the day was having lunch at Hoover’s, and having dinner with my wife, Lois, who is a phenomenal cook and damn good looking, too.
jesse sublett,, crime fiction, pulp fiction, murder ballad, noir,

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