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Setting the Record, Uh, Straighter, About Watermelon Slim

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There should be an image here, from my garden, but sometimes opednews' technology does not do what I ask of it.

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First of all, I want to express my thanks to Blues Blast Magazine for a new, and evolved, picture of me. I'm sitting here getting rested before, first, a trip to Greeley, Colorado, next week, and then the longest single stay I will ever have made in Europe, unless I find that regulations and my capacity to move allow me some day to live somewhere else besides the USA.

I have done acts of love for this nation most people never even consider-- my work in Dr. Phillips' investigation of the New Mexico land strata in which the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is located, and now contains nuclear waste, against all scientific sense, is only one. I have spent my entire adult life doing it, starting in 1971 with my time in the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I am a Life Member.

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I have gradually been forced to the analytical conclusion that the American people, to say nothing of those they have elected as their leaders, have learned nothing from the bitter lessons of the Vietnam War.

If anything, its contemplation of war as a phenomenon has morphed from a painful confrontation with reality to an intellectual exercise. It's out of sight, and therefore somehow sanitized because you can't see or hear it, unlike the dawn of live network television broadcasts, where people were not forbidden, as they were by the GW Bush Administration, from seeing the combat and seeing the bodies return.

Thus, if I found a reason to emigrate, and active help doing it-- which all probably means a husband; without that one good man, I'm probably best off being a Mississippi farmer and fisherman-- I would leave the United States, a land, so far as I can see it, totally out of control, in which all the vectors I read about 50 years ago next year-- pollution, resource depletion, population increase-- have followed the paths projected in 1970 (a time before computerized vector modeling) by the Club of Rome Report: The Limits to Growth.

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I would go someplace where the behavioral modification that has resulted in the whole nine yards of people accepting a man who has constantly, CONSTANTLY lied and obfuscated and said "so what!?" at them, who has denigrated combat veterans, even those who die on his watch, who never read an entire book in his life-- I mean, WTF struggles to explain it-- has not taken hold so completely. It's all in my songs, on Church of the Blues. Post-Modern Blues. Charlottesville (I Got the Blues for My Nation).

In one of our recent conversations, my brother-in-law, Dr. Jeff McKenna, a very wise and compassionate fellow, told me something I suppose I have always known.

Now, I have continued to fight the battles, whether or not I thought I could win them, according to the investigational and philosophical training I received from Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips: we must do it for the record. And I am mindful of what Jean-Paul Sartre said after World War Two: the only rational response to imminent defeat is resistance.

But my brother-in-law gently confirmed for me the truth: that I have a snowball's chance of ever achieving justice in this world, and that my time-- at 70, my borrowed time, as Ronnie Lereaux Meadors wrote in St. Peter's Ledger, the lead-off song on Church of the Blues-- might be better spent giving people the limited joy I know (as well as I know anything, and I am a Socratic about, uh, knowing anything at all) I give people when I am out doing my shows, being the Southern bluesman I have learned to be over 65 of those years, since I first heard Beulah Huggins sing something that a decade later I recognized as a key line from one of John Lee Hooker's first hits, Boogie Chillen.

Thanks, Jeff. You McKennas (sister Liz McKenna, nephews Will and Kiefer) are my family now. I'm looking forward to sharing world citizenship this summer-- for as I have said many times, the blues is a culture without borders avec tous mes amis/todos mis amigos/tutti li miei amici/all my friends. I thank God I have been allowed to carry on this far and meet as many of you as I have.

In my comments, once I post this, I will make a few journalistic corrections. The author was good enough to definitively make the correction about the Zippo I used as my very first guitar slide in Vietnam. I will, by his leave, make a few more -- dates, chronology mostly-- absolutely none of which detract from the comprehensive presentation he has made of the Watermelon Slim of 2019.

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My name is William Perkins Homans the third, but probably more people know me as the bluesman (and artist) Watermelon Slim.

I've been in the fight against war, fascism, injustice and inhumanity for 47 years. I was at MayDay, 1971, and at the moratorium March the week before. I was one of the leaders of the Great New Jersey (more...)

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As I promised, a few corrections:
1. Got my first bongos in 1958, at 9, the year before I got my first harmonica.

2. I went to one semester of college at Middlebury, VT, did poorly, dropped out and joined the Army, then volunteered for Vietnam duty, in 1969.

3. In fact, 1100 Merry Airbrakes were pressed, but at least half, plus the 2-inch master, were destroyed by the elements on my Oklahoma farm. Dr. Phillips and I-- my Richard, sigghh-- tried to reissue the record in 1980, and it was he who not only carved the linoleum block from a design by comedian James Clair Lewis with which we printed the maybe 100 copies we eventually shrinkwrapped and had for sale.

Bringing the history of the record up to date, I have the only extant shrinkwrapped copy, which harmonica impresario Mark Hummel was nice enough to part with, unopened, and any art or music memorabilia collectors interested should contact me about this unique piece of art. And for your information, Merry Airbrakes has again been reissued by the collectors' label Scissortail Records. But please, when you see me, all you turntable owners, buy your copy from me, OK? The company can't autograph 'em.

That year I also produced an LP titled Endangered Species, written and performed by Dr. Phillips. All of our stock mysteriously disappeared from my father's law office somewhere in the late 1980s. If anyone reading this has a copy of Endangered Species, I would be eternally grateful if you would make arrangements to send it to me.

4. It was also Dr. Phillips (long before he was a PhD) who obtained the unedited 8mm. Abraham Zapruder (spell that right) film from a person in Queens. It is far too late to be a Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theorist (hell, justice has never arrived in the Oklahoma Bombing, and we who were there then are aging. One Oklahoma County sheriff friend of mine who was in the building cleaning out bodies died two years ago), but I will never believe the Warren Report-- the rush to justice, as one book about it is titled. One recent author, Fred Litwin, a man I know, has returned to the lone assassin theory, and I reject his conclusion out of hand.

5. Not a correction, but a necessary update: Honour Hero Havoc is also known as Rebecca Homans. She is the mother of our daughter Jessie Homans, and we are separated for 17 1/2 years. Honour is currently in hospice care in Memphis. She was a blueswoman in her own right (after being one of the icons of the original punk-rock movement), and performed on four of my CDs. She always did a fine job, on bass and vocals. I ask for your prayers for her.

Again, many thanks to Blues Blast Magazine for providing people with this portrait!

William P. Homans
aka Watermelon Slim

Submitted on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 4:57:44 PM

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