Back Door Man

Slim talkin’…….. In 1970, when I was a student at “Ol Miss, BB King came to the school to play a gig and I was asked to shoot some photographs. I eagerly consented and when the appointed hour came I took a position in the orchestra pit and clicked off a dozen or so shots of BB doin’ his thing. At the conclusion of show, BB took a bow, then took a couple of steps forward, toward me, bent down and extended his hand. Thrilled by his acknowledgement, I enthusiastically shook hands cursing inside that I was the guy taking pictures and no one would be recording this special moment for me. The concert was a pretty low key affair (no serious security) and I just kind of wandered backstage to hang out a little bit. BB and the band members had disappeared and as I stood taking in the scene, a roadie passed by carrying BB’s guitar. He stopped near me, took out a towel and began wiping the instrument down, preparing it to be put back in it’s case. “Wow” I exclaimed, “Is that Lucille?” “Yep,” the roadie said. Then added, “Wanna play it?‘’ “Oh man,” I groaned “are you serious?” “Sure” he said with a smile. “BB’s long gone, it’s OK.” I reached for the guitar, held it with reverence and began to finger a few riffs. About 30 seconds into my ecstasy, I caught a large figure out of the corner of my eye moving toward me. I looked up and from a distance of about six feet stood BB King looking straight at me. “How does she feel?” BB asked with a comfortable smile. Caught red handed (and red faced) and frozen with embarrassment I blurted out something really dumb like, “nice guitar.” BB sensing my discomfort reached into his pocket, pulled out and handed me a guitar pick. “Try this” he encouraged. “God, I can’t believe this.” I said to myself, lacking the confidence to say anything else to one of my great idols. I noodled a minute or so, then BB handed me an itinerary of his upcoming shows in the area, inviting me to be sure and come. I gingerly handed “Lucille” back to the roadie, who seemed oblivious to the whole happening, and said “thank you Mr. King” to the great bluesman. “You’re welcome” he answered. Then as he turned to leave, he called back. “Son, you know the blues don’t you?’ “Yes sir, I think I do,” I said stupidly. “Well you should know then, that whenever you’ve got your hands on another man’s lady, you’ve always got to be watchin’ that back door.” With that he chuckled loudly and disappeared through the curtains.

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