Thursday, July 6, 2017

Charles Diickens and Stevie Ray Vaughan: Can You Dig It


I'm at the part of Oliver Twist when Nancy gets Oliver from Fagin to deliver him with Fagin's say so to Bill Sikes. Sikes wants him because he's small enough to help Sikes and crew complete a promising robbery.

It's in Chapter 18.

I mention it only because, maybe, Dickens can be said to write the way Stevie Ray Vaughan, may he continue to rest in the rockin' Blues peace, plays. Strong, large genius strokes both of them that are so compelling that you may be tempted to wonder about delicacy and nuance.

Resist the temptation for at least two reasons:

one, even, for both, amidst their strong broad art, their seeming "broad strokes" so to say,  is subtlety, playfulness, tasty placement, and layered complexity; and

two, then, there are forays into the sheer delicacy of their art,

as when, in  this scene, Oliver, who's pure victim here, in his lovely innocent goodness is solicitous of Nancy,

as what arouses his sympathy is Nancy shown desperately torn among her acute sympathy for Oliver, her fear of Sikes, and her also, fear aside, wanting to please him,

as when Oliver for all his innocence is shown beginning to calculate and have cunning, agreeing to go peaceably with Nancy on his reckoning he might be able to get away given crowded streets and possibly sympathetic bystanders,

and as when he's brought eagerly by Nancy to Sikes who's, again, shown as shark like in his single minded predation, the personification of virtually unmitigated maleficent functionality in which almost nothing else registers with him.

And such delicacy for Stevie Ray Vaughan, well, better to listen than for me ineptly try to convey it in words:

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