Being an obsessive music hoarder has its drawbacks. The questions of, “How often do I really listen to ______ ?” and all those albums that you really mean to get around to listening to, you’re just never really “in the right mood.” Or those albums that you think you hate then decide you like on a re-listen before you put them in the “sell to record store” or “delete” pile. Then there’s the organizing of one’s library. Any modern music aficionado is often dealing with three to four formats: digital, CDs, vinyl and/or tapes. (Yes, I really do have tapes.) Oh, and let’s not forget the financial toll for any one who still pays for any of this.
But willful music binging has its benefits, too. On a recommendation from someone on tumblr who responded to a video of Skip James that I posted, I’ve been watching the seven-part Martin Scorsese blues documentary series, Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues: A Musical Journey. I’ve seen five of the seven films, and so far have just about broken even: two of the films I could have passed on, two of them I found captivating, and one of them fell somewhere in the middle. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been grabbing artists like Skip James, Robert Johnson and B.B. King out of my collection lately, and have a long list of artists and albums I plan to acquire. One thing on that list is the song used in the opening credits for each of the films – I hadn’t looked it up or written it down, I just reminded myself each time I watched another chapter in the series that I needed to look it up.
A few days ago I embarked on a massive digital library clean-up, requiring that I both listen to some of those things I’ve been meaning to get around to hearing, and be honest about my listening habits enough to purge the stuff I just don’t listen to. I put iTunes on shuffle, got comfortable, and began. At some point, the opening credits song from Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues began playing. It’s Muddy Waters‘ “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had.” I have no idea where I got the mp3 from, or how long I’ve had it, but there it was. Right under my nose all along.