Saturday, August 12, 2006

So I'm reading about BB King... the April 206 issue of Guitar World and the interview mentions Jules Bahari who basically handled King's recordings, including the business end, in the early 50's. I'll mention that Jules was white, but that's not the point of all this. Jules would add his name, or the names of relatives, or even pseudonyms, to the songwriting credits so he'd get a share of the royalties, a bigger share, evidently (although that wasn't explicitly stated in the article). The interviewer (Alan D. Perna) asks King about Jules.

He gets, from King: "I'm sure I did get ripped off, but I was crazy about Jules Bahari. I didn't know much about business anyway, and Jules treated me like a person. He was just a good man to me. After I got my royalty check, which was never much--maybe I got a couple of thousand dollars--sometimes I'd walk by a new car and I'd say 'I need two thousand more dollars.' And Jules would give it to me. He made me feel like I was special...Jules Bahari was guy who would hang out with us, drink with us and treat us nice during those segregated times...Jules had my heart in his hand. I still love him today."

God, I love capitalism.

Y'see...that's how it's supposed to work. King was a black musician in 1951 that was able to buy cars, just for the asking. Just because he had a working man-to-man deal with someone he trusted. King "didn't know much about business anyway" and my bet is Jules wasn't much of a guitar player.

You and I can quibble about the methods used to ensure that everybody got paid, or how fair it was, or how legal (as if I give a shit). But King doesn't.

And that's the point.

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