It was in a neighborhood of New Orleans known as the Bywater—in the upper ninth ward.  David learned about it from a man who played bass, a fellow player at The Corner Oyster Bar near Jackson Square—one of the nightspots where David brought his guitar when he took the ferry over from Algiers.  The man had sat in on a few recordings there, and he said the sound was good.

And so David took a walk one day to find it.  A walk through an area sixty years later would be under fifteen feet of water after the infamous levee break and the stories we now have of it, of a government’s mishandlings despite all our technological breakthroughs, a story that makes you wonder if anyone’s really watching even if they have the know-how to do it, if God’s watching.  But when David Threnody took that walk he wasn’t thinking about the future, the nudge of spiritual forces guiding him to put his voice on vinyl—he was lingering in the past, pondering a last meeting, a last conversation before stealing out the window with that Gibson ES-150 on his back.  He was thinking about Rosie Soledad, the girl who baked him cookies and danced to his guitar strings in that roadhouse joint called “The Hi-Way Host”, back after that ride he took at the crossroads off of Highway 61, in Mississippi the summer of 1937.  He was recalling the bed they shared in his mind movie of memories played out during his enlistment in Biloxi before the war.  The casino where he and Johnny Tribout gambled in dreams and heard their lovers talk in cemeteries and on the stage.

 

“What do you want?”

“I don’t know…”

“Yes you do…  You just don’t want what you know.  You want what you don’t want.”

And David looks up from his pillow lying next to her.  To the giant over-blown portrait of a marijuana leaf.  He still hears the echoes of his amped guitar.  The sweat on Rosie’s body next to him not from her dancing, but from another exertion—a failed exertion to have him finish what he started.  The song they were making in her bed unfinished, and instead of it being pre-maturely over because of his arousal, her ministrations ended because he wasn’t.

“You just got to think dirty…  Like how your eyes watched me dancing at the roadhouse tonight.  It ain’t no different.  No different than the music.  Just nobody’s watchin’ us now…  Do you need somebody watchin’?  Maybe that’s what you need.  So you know it’s dirty and so’s you can think dirty…  Think about him being here.  The man you owe for your guitar.  Think he’s here if you want to.  He won’t judge.  He brought us together—made us meet…”

“I don’t want him here!  I don’t want him in no part of my life.”

“Hah!  Boy, you wouldn’t be here in my bed if he wasn’t part of your life…  Let me tell you somethin’.  Let me tell you a trick I learned.  Maybe it’s those words your momma prayed over you when you was a boy—that prophecy you told me ‘bout.  Maybe that’s what’s holdin’ ya back.  You think those prayers to God mean anything here, in our nakedness?  It ain’t fearin’ God that keeps you from the pain.  It don’t protect ya from bein’ hurt.  All yur church goin’ ain’t gonna keep ya from that, nor from hurts them church people will do to ya while they’s makin’ their prayers to God…  You want ta believe in that—go ahead!  Maybe it’s good for ya to believe that, believe in that—Golden Rules and such…  But let me tell ya.  Let me tell ya ‘bout how to keep from gettin’ hurt—you just can’t care…  You hear me?  You can’t care too much.  ‘Bout anything or anyone.  It’s the person that cares more in any given situation that walks away hurt.  Even if yur walkin’ away from a church-goer that believes in them Golden Rules…  And don’t say you don’t know, because you already done it.  You already done it with me!  You care too much you feel too much of what people want from ya.  You feel too much of what you give to them and what you take away.  Even that money you makin’ workin’ for Scratch now gets weight to it in how it changes hands.  You feel what the money feels even in even trades.  Don’t make it personal, boy!  It’s just business…”

“Is that what we are?  Just business?”

They look at each other on their pillows.  Both of them lying on their sides, facing each other, facing the center of the bed.  The bed sheets up to their shoulders.  Rosie reaches out with her hand and caresses David’s cheek.

“Love is a business like anything else.  You give and you get.  You just don’t trade in money.  You trade in emotions.  Things you feel and remember long after.  That’s why it’s a hard business.  A harder business than anything that involves money.  You can forget losing money.  But you can’t forget losing what you feel…”

 

It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  It was March in New Orleans, Mardi Gras over, and David Threnody was thinking of a woman’s bed as he walked to the studio of Piety Street Records.  He was thinking of Rosie’s bed.  The bed they shared back in those summer months of 1937, those hot months following the March madness of winter turning into spring in that time of Lent, spring turning into summer, and the fall, the fall season when he snuck out of Rosie’s window—their business over.  He was thinking and remembering even though he knew it was no good, no good for him.  But maybe it was the gentle nudge that he needed.  Something bad he had to do to make it good.  For it would give him his first songs.  The songs for an album, and the deal he would strike, going over an old conversation in his mind, a last conversation, as he turned off of Dauphine onto Piety Street, the original route of the Desire streetcar line, and saw what he was looking for…

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