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Shoplifting the Blues

By Avner Strauss

I was all of fourteen years old, and I don’t really think I was
too aware of the blues yet. I had been taking some guitar
lessons from a local guitar guru at the time in Haifa, named
Dave Lichton, who told me a little bit about Josh White and
the Blues. I had an inexpensive locally made electric guitar
with a bright red finish and three silver pickups. Now, I had
received a slight taste of the blues from an American friend
living in Israel, who had some old Blues records in his
collection. I later became professional musician and a big fan
of the blues.
The selection of blues records available in Israeli shops in the
60’s was very limited and consisted of a few records by
Champion Jack Dupree, Memphis Slim, John lee Hooker,
B.B. King and Big Bill Broonzy. One day after my guitar
lesson with Dave, I was in the biggest record store in Haifa-
Beit Hataklit (the "Record House"), when I saw a Big Bill
Broonzy LP in a rare French edition (or so I thought at the
time - being all of fourteen years old). As I was admiring the
LP, examining the photo on the cover of Big Bill singing in a
dark club with his eyes closed. Trying to read the titles of the
songs on the back. I don’t recall all the details, but somehow
this fine LP found its way into my guitar case as I left the
store, making me guilty of the crime of shoplifting the Blues.
To this day, I still love to sing Broonzy’s "Black, Brown, and
White Blues" which I learned from that record...

Visit my Whistle Museum at: www.whistlemuseum.com


Avner Strauss is a virtuoso guitarist in the Jazz, Flamenco, and Classical traditions, and a singer of the Blues, as well as writing modern Israeli verse and songs. He is a producer of music and theater in the schools ( Sal Tarbut Strauss), has four record albums to his name, and has recently put out a new album and a DVD of animated shorts of his songs for children. Avner is a world renowned collector of antique whistles, and also happens to be the great-grandson of the philosopher Martin Buber.

Read more Blues Heroes Stories
from the bookTouched By the Blues

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