There’s been some chatter among the BOT commentariat (not to be confused with the proletariat) about whether the street musicians in this week’s episode were partially inspired by the story of Zack Bowen and Addie Hall the doomed couple about whom Ethan Brown wrote in his great true crime tome, Shake The Devil Off. Here’s a quick and dirty summary: Zack was an Iraq war vet who stayed in the Quarter during the aftermath of the storm. He had a tempestuous relationship with Addie and murdered her in a grisly fashion after he went bat shit crazy. A tragic story and a must read, albeit disturbing, book.
Neither Zack nor Addie were street musicians but they lived, worked, argued and died in the Quarter. And Zack had instant nostalgia for when it was empty during the NOLA diaspora. As did our surly street pianist, Sonny who seems to have been a veteran of our Iraqi misadventure like Zack. I was struck by the evil eye Sonny gave the voluntourists from Cheeseville whilst “interrogating” them about the Lower Ninth and such. This, however, is not the song that piqued my interest, when we first met Piano and Fiddle, he was singing Careless Love. It’s not exactly a murder ballad but it’s close: a menacing blues song about a doomed romance.
I’m not sure if I buy this theory but at least we’re not talking about a certain character. What do you think about the inspired by Zack and Addie angle, Ethan?
Anyway, this line of speculation gives me an excuse to post Bessie Smith belting out Careless Love with Louis Armstrong on trumpet: