Meet Me with Your Black Drawers on: My Life in Music [With CD] by Jeannie Cheatham
B.B. King On Life, Plantation Living And His 'Droopy-Drawers' Sound. May 15 I would hear the Hawaiian sound or the country music players played steel and slide guitars, if you will. And I hear It's like meeting your in-laws for the first time. .. GROSS: In the s, you toured on a black music circuit. She balances life's trials and tragedies with a deep faith as well as a great sense of Jeannie's song, “Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On,” is still being. B.B. King On Life, Plantation Living And His 'Droopy-Drawers' Sound . to try to make ends meet, if you will, because my music wasn't taking care of me. Not black, not white, not red or yellow — but people would like it.
I helped to plant it. I did everything that the grown-ups do. And that's mostly - the work had to do with - cotton was the king, if you will, of the produce in the Mississippi Delta when I was growing up; peanuts, maybe later, and soybeans later. But cotton still is today one of the main produces that's raised in the Mississippi Delta.
What was the financial arrangement between your family and the plantation owner? Well, a sharecropper was meant to be exactly what they say - share cropper. But generally, the boss that owned the plantation did all of the paperwork, if you will. He was the CPA. He sold the produce that you raised. For example, a family of maybe five or six would have maybe a hundred acres to work, and maybe they would make 20, 25 bales of cotton. And it was all dealt with through the plantation owner. And at the end of the year, say late December before Christmas, maybe two weeks or so, that's when we'd do what they call the settlement.
And this is all done through the trust of the plantation owner. Other words, the sharecropper had nothing to do with it except what was told to him that had to do with his earnings. You know what I'm wondering? When you were growing up on a plantation, family of sharecroppers, did you vow to yourself early on I'm getting out of here? Believe it or not, people lived on the plantation felt like that this was really home, most of them. And we're being taken care of because the boss of the plantation usually was like your lawyer, your judge, your father, your mom.
He was your, practically, everything. And people lived on plantations sort of felt, believe it or not, secure to be there. They needed a few bucks, usually they could get this from the boss man, and it's taken out at the end of the year. At that time, we didn't have telephones. We didn't have electricity or anything of that sort. Later on, I guess we had electricity maybe a year or so before I left when I was 18 years old.
And this was all taken care of through a system that you would pay at the end of the year, which came out of your earnings. So a lot of the people, including myself - the early years, just thought that this was it, you know. This - you raise your families, and you get old, die; your families take over - kids and what have you. It's an ongoing process, if you will. But I somehow later start to feel that there was more for me and a few others. I think it's the same way with young people today.
They feel that they're not really happy with the status quo.
Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On: My Life In Music by Jeannie Cheatham - JazzTimes
If that makes sense. King speaking to Terry Gross in More after a break. Let's get back to Terry's interview with legendary blues artist B.
He died last night at age You are - you know, you grew up on a plantation, then left it to go to Memphis, which is where you started really playing music professionally. It's a great story how you left the plantation. You were driving a tractor. This was a problematic tractor that had - it had problems with after ignition. So one day you turned off the tractor, walked out of the tractor and then the tractor started jumping on its own, rammed into the barn. The exhaust pipe got crushed or, you know, broke off.
And you were afraid of how much money you'd owe the plantation owner. No, I was afraid that I would be killed laughter. Well, he'd never kill anybody, but laughter I don't mean it that way, but scared to death. You know, like if your mom cooked a cake and you decided that, you know, you were going to get a piece of it and you drop it, you know, and it spills on the floor, a brand-new cake that's made for the family.
You would feel that mom is going to surely kill you, so better get out of there. Well, that's the way I felt at the time that that tractor - when it backfired, you know, ran out into there. It scared me half to death, so I panicked and left - left and hitchhiked to Memphis.
Going from Indianola to Memphis then was like oh, to me, like leaving Chicago going to Philly. It was that far - that's the way it seemed at the time.
So I was scared to death. I left and stayed for a while and communicated back with my family.
And my cousin Booker White said go on back there and take your lesson - take your medicine. So I finally went back, and Mr. Barrett, who was a very nice guy, a man that I admired so much, I wished I could be a lot more like him. You know, the good thing is, too, is this - that accident forced you to leave the plantation. Maybe you wouldn't have left it wasn't for that No, no, no, I had planned to leave.
I had planned to leave. I had worked with a group called St. John Gospel Singers, and I thought we were very good. And believe it or not, I thought we were getting close to being like the Soul Stirrers, you know, with the Sam Cooke's group, yeah Sam Cooke, you got it. The Golden Gate Quartet, that was - the Pilgrim Travelers and many other quartets that we admired and wanted to be like them.
And I thought we were, you know, kind of good opening act for some of them. And I'd wanted to leave two, three years before that. However, I had asked the guys a couple of years before to leave - you now, let's go.
I believe we're ready. And each time, the crops would be bad or something like that and somebody would have an excuse and say well, we didn't do so well this year. Let's try it again next year. And I was about fed up with hearing that and was about ready to go anyway. What was Memphis like when you got there? What impressed you the most? It was like - oh, let's say you lived in Cairo phIll.
That's what Memphis was like. Wow, great, big city.Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On
I'd never been in a city that large before. And did you feel like hey, this city is mine, or did you feel like I don't belong here? No, I felt that it was a place of learning because I was lucky and my cousin Booker White lived there and I had a chance to meet a lot of people when I came to Memphis.
And I would go down on Beale Street and hear all these fine musicians playing, especially on the weekends. Memphis was sort of like, again, Chicago or any of the major metropolitan areas.
People were coming through, going East or West - other words, it was sort of like a meeting place, if you will, a port for people traveling from different places. So I had a chance to meet a lot of great giants in the business - jazz and otherwise.
So I felt it was something - or a place rather that I can learn. And you went up to him and asked to sing on the program. That seems to me like a - you must have had the courage to just come in like that. Well, before I left Indianola, my hometown, Indianola, Miss. He would come on the air each day at And I felt that - that I knew him.
Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On: My Life in Music
It's sort of like watching TV or listening to you. A person listen to you and feel that they can trust you and feel that they really know you. You become like a name in the family, so that's the way I felt when I met him. I didn't know him, but it seemed to me I had known him all this time. I went over, and I felt - I guess I would've been hurt very badly if he had not talked with me. He let you sing on his show? I guess he said a guy got this much nerve and I'm very homely looking I sang one of Ivory Joe Hunter's songs.
Ivory Joe Hunter, if you're not familiar with him, was a - a great songwriter and great musician. He made a lot of tunes. One - one or two that you've probably heard. Anyway, I sang one of his tunes called "Blues At Sunrise. And you got a response? Very much so, Sonny Boy seemed to like it.
And Sonny Boy was a very big guy, you know, and his eyes were not very clear, looked a little red like. And he was a very big fella. And at that time, I weigh aboutand he - he stood about, oh, 6 - 6 feet or more.
And looking down on me, you know, like hey, you better sing right. And I said yes sir. King, speaking to Terry Gross in He died last night at the age of 89 after spending most of the month in hospice care at his home.
We'll continue their conversation in the second half of the show. Singing Sometimes I wonder just what am I fighting for? I win some battles, but I always lose the war After spending weeks in hospice care at his home, he died last night. When we left off, they were talking about B. King's move to Memphis. Well, you ended up getting your own radio show as well as your own gigs in Memphis. When you were on the radio, one of the things you had to do was sing - well, write and then sing - a jingle for Pepticon, which was, what - a kind of cure-all remedy?
Pepticon was a tonic that was supposed to be good for whatever ails you. And we sold a lot of it. And I think a lot of it had to do - I didn't learn until much later that it was 12 percent alcohol, so a lot of the older people bought it. And especially the church people, laughterthey bought a lot of it.
The only way to drink and be legit. Well, I won't say that, but I do know that they bought it. Would you sing the jingle you wrote? Well, laughter do you really want me to do this? People lived on plantations felt, believe it or not, secure to be there. If they needed a few bucks, usually they could get this from the boss man, and it's taken out at the end of the year I somehow later started to feel that there was more for me and a few others.
I think the same way with young people today; they feel that they're not really happy with the status quo.
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On moving to Memphis It was like, let's say you leave Cairo, Ill. That's what Memphis was like: Wow, great big city. I had never been in a city that large before. I felt that it was a place of learning, because I was lucky my cousin Bukka White lived there and I had a chance to meet a lot of people when I came to Memphis. And I would go down on Beale Street and hear all these fine musicians playing, especially on the weekends.
ommag.info: Black - Chest of Drawers / Bedroom Furniture: Home & Kitchen
Memphis was sort of like Chicago or any of the major metropolitan areas. People was coming through going east or west; in other words, it was sort of like a meeting place, if you will — a port for people traveling from different places.
So I had a chance to meet a lot of great giants in the business, jazz and otherwise. On how his hit "3 O'Clock Blues" changed his life Well, it changed my life in many ways. I would drive trucks and tractors; I did everything to try to make ends meet, if you will, because my music wasn't taking care of me. I could get a driver to keep from having to drive to all the different places by myself, and my wife and I was able to live better, able to pay the band better.
How comfortable are you with dirt? Maybe, it depends on your definition. I can only speak for me and Pete, but we care about personal hygiene. We may not shower every day or every three daysbut there are many ways to stay clean and we take full advantage of them! Your level of comfort with dirt directly relates to question 1. You can do your best to stay clean and tidy, but when the outdoors is half your home, dirt and dust will find their way into every nook and cranny.
I know this because I was one myself. Whenever sand was brought into the van, I swept. Right now, the dirt of the national forest we are camping in is essentially chalk: Everything in the van has a white hue.
Snoop likes its softness and lays in it; there is a half black, half dusty white dog laying next to me as I write this and when he gets up, the cushion will be white as well. But as soon as I clean it off it will get dirty again, so I have learned to let go and life is much more enjoyable this way. Do you tend to wear the same clothes repeatedly?
If your answer is no, then I feel inclined to say you might have a tough time packing for van life. Limited space is a huge factor and downsizing is all a part of the minimalistic lifestyle. Pete and I are pretty spoiled with our clothing storage space. Are you willing to be creative in order to make money? Making money is without a doubt the most common thing we are asked about. There is no easier to this question though. Many people have jobs that can be done completely from a computer such as web developing, graphic design, freelance writing, social media marketing, and blogging.
Others might do migrant labor, sell products, or work for a few months to save and then travel with their savings.
We saved up a lot of money before we departed and have had to depend on our savings some, but we are actively working to create our own income. The first thing we are actively doing to make a living is selling our eBook!