Fattening Frogs For Snakes

Preachin’ the Blues

for Tom Morgan & Hild Creed

“I always sung,” Son House
once confessed. “I was brought up
singing church music, & most of my family
was songsters. Most of them

played instruments, & they even had
a family band. I used to like to sing
my own songs
mostly. Never did care too much

about singing other people’s songs.
I was brought up in church
from a little boy on up, & I didn’t believe
in no blues. I was too churchy,

& I didn’t believe in that. And I talked
against it. And I really was called
to preach the gospel. That’s why
I knowed it so good. I didn’t have to read

the book so much,
It came from above. But
you can’t take God
& the Devil

along together, because them two fellows,
they don’t communicate so well
together—they don’t get along
so well

together. Now you’ve got to
separate
those two guys. You got to follow one
or the other. You can’t hold God in one hand

& the Devil in the other.
You got to turn
one of ’em a-loose. You’re a friend
or an enemy ’twixt God

& the Devil. You can’t sit
straddle of the fence—
you got to give up one side
or the other. Then I began to wonder,

‘Now,
how can I stand up
in the pulpit
& preach to them,

tell them how to live,
& quick as I dismiss the congregation,
& I see nobody ain’t looking,
& I’m doing the same thing.’”

— Charlottesville VA
July 14, 1999/
New Orleans
August 24 > 31, 1999