(Editor's note: In our last exciting episode, Adam learned about the existence of an obscure Springs-based bluesman by the name of Little Willie Mississippi. This week, the two local legends meet face to face, but only one will survive. OK, they both will. On with the story...)
So's I says to Harry, I says, "Where is this Little Willie dude at?"
At this point I had known about him for well over two weeks, without even a glimmer of the man himself.
"Well, he's outside right now," Harry mumbled, "but ..."
I interrupted abruptly. "No 'but'! Go get him!"
Harry went outside for a minute and came back in with an older gentleman following meekly behind, his head buried into his chest. Somewhere around 60, and little, standing no higher than 5-foot-5.
"You must be Little Willie," I said, "Pleasure to meet you. Harry tells me you got some mighty fine licks on the harmonica."
I handed him a Hohner Blues Harp that had been collecting dust in a drawer for the better part of a decade. Slowly gathering his composure, Willie started to stomp out a beat on the creaky hardwood floor.
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
"The way my baby do me ..." Willie howled, "It just ain't no good ..."
He accented his unsteady but powerful croon with competent, albeit rough, riffs on the harp. But before long, Willie was starting to wail on the harp pretty good.
"Yeah, man! Right on!" I said to Harry while Willie was still blowing. "You weren't bullshitting. This boy can play!"
Already a foot taller than when he first walked in, Little Willie Mississippi now had a broad smile where his unsure grimace once was. Harry and I stood watching with equally massive grins.
"Little Willie, heart and soul, " he said confidently, "all the way from Jackson, Mississippi. It's good to be with you here today."
His demeanor that of a true showman, he was on it. At that point Harry turned to me and asked what I wanted for the harp.
"Tell you what," I said, "you make him play an hour a day, and get him here on Wednesday nights, and you don't owe me nothing for the harp ."
And with a round of jovial handshakes, they were off. My mind dead set on Wednesday night ...
On a side note, I received an e-mail about Willie from a loyal Reverb reader who may have met Willie at Front Range BBQ one night when Grant Sabin, a young but well-known local talent, was playing ... a night not unlike this Sunday, June 20.
"He was sitting by the stage playing the spoons because Sabin didn't want to play with him. He had been enjoying the Canadian Club a little too much." Indeed, it probably was Willie!
Stay tuned next week for "Chapter, the Third" of the Continuing Story of Little Willie Mississippi.
Meanwhile, for those who are more "Jerry Reed" than "Jimmy Reed," try a little Mason Reed on for size. The former Denver resident, who now lives in Tucson, Ariz. has earned critical comparisons to Van Morrison, Drive-By Truckers, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. But unlike those guys, he's playing Friday, June 18 at the Triple Nickel Tavern (along with Jacob Jones and the Ghost of Michael Clark), and then at Rascal's Bar (1785 B St.) on Saturday.
Smell you later!
Send your news, photos and Little Willie sightings to firstname.lastname@example.org.