ROBERT JOHNSON PROJECT
"MISTER H.C. SPEIR EXPLAINS THE BLUES, Y'ALL"
A ONE-MAN PLAY
It is an interesting fact of history that one H.C Speir, "discovered" bluesman Robert Johnson. At the very least, he was the first to record him in the backroom recording set-up of his general store, and is so credited by music historians. In the play, Speir is quiet boastful in his priorertory claims of having recorded the performances of other Mississippi Delta blues singers, the "best blues hollerin' boys out of all them others". By "them others" he meant those Chicago, Kansas City and several other blues performers who were becoming famous on the various "race labels".
The thing about it was, H.C. wasn't your garden variety 'good ol' boy' who upheld the tenants of Jim Crow, and while Robert Johnson's other taste for music ran from bluegrass, Bing Crosby, Paul Whiting and Guy Lombardo. H.C. was a devotee of the "true raw stuff of the local niggra boys". Thus, our one man play allows ol' H.C. to put into his own words how 'pissed off' he is by the way he's been passed-over, and ripped-off by upstart new labels discovering their own performers. Most of them, now legendary bluesmen, were 'fakes', as far as H.C. is concerned.
the 'man' with his 'boys'