Furry Blooze


Furry Lewis
Good Morning Judge

Sometimes, as the saying goes, having a little luck is the best plan. Furry Lewis was never much for planning, and luck was a luxury he could rarely afford. From the age of 12, he spent the better part of his life as a street sweeper in Memphis or working medicine shows, where charlatans sold snake oil to gullible yokels. When Furry was 17, he lost his leg hoppin’ freight trains. Legend has it that a friend came to the hospital and Furry told him, “It ain’t so bad. I can see the ice cream factory from here.” Like most post-World War II Delta mojo men, Furry was just a generation or two out of forty-acres-and-a-mule. Life — with its “whites only” water fountains and back-of-the-bus mandates — was an open wound, and the blues was the salve. Furry played a sort of droning porch-lit trance-blues, prodded by rocking-chair toe-tap rhythms and flyswatter beats, nearly all of which, like most good blues, start with “I woke up this morning … ” Furry’s may have been a flea-bitten hound dog of a life, but good God almighty he was alive and glad to be, and nobody — not the judge who locked him up or the doctor who sawed his leg off, not even Jesus Christ himself — could take that away.