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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Seven dirty words & Buddy (No. 6) Guy


I don’t know why I feel compelled to defend amplified profanity at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival in a forum that is the blog equivalent of the “Peanuts” comic strip.

It’s innocuous, family-friendly and never resorts to profanity.

The key difference being that “Peanuts” earns millions while this blog earns peanuts.

But you’ll have trouble finding any profanity in either venue.

The closest I get to going blue is when I remind people the only time bitch, bitch, bitch turns into something productive is when you’re running a thriving dog-grooming business.

What’s funny is while I rarely type a profanity, I spew it verbally near ‘round the clock.

I try not to say swear words around the kids, but don’t lose sleep whenever I do.

In fact, I often do it with the intention of being funny.

That was the case just last week when one of the Showcase Showdown “Price is Right!” prizes was an all-expense paid trip to Phuket, Thailand.

Now, you sophisticates understand the resort town is pronounced FOO-ket.

I told the girls to pay attention. I said I wouldn’t want them to ever be in the position of having host Drew Carey say, “Do you want to bid or pass?” and have them be misunderstood when they say FUK-it.

I bring all this up because a renown Pittsburgh blues promoter Ron Esser, owner of Moondog’s blues club, took it upon himself to scold blues great Buddy Guy for using swear words from the stage. It was a big local story.

Esser — and he is beloved in the ‘burgh — is a nationally-renown blues curator. I’ve been to his club numerous times and spent a great Fourth of July afternoon drinking with him when he was in a Latrobe bar where I friend of mine used to feature great Pittsburgh blues bands.

He knows the blues. In Pittsburgh, you could say he is the blues.

That’s why the idea of him scolding a blues legend like Buddy Guy has me saying, “What the, er, heck?”


You see the spot I’m in. I want to share the nitty-gritty of some great profanity, but am shackled by feelings of propriety.

I don’t want to run afoul of the FCC-based guidelines so memorably satirized by George Carlin in his “Seven Dirty Words” routine.

The only solution is to provide a sanitized numeric key for the remainder of this post.

Here it is:

No. 1, manure; 2, urine; 3, from the Dutch word for “to penetrate;” 4, rhymes with “punt;” 5, a three-syllable pejorative for any male or female who does something most men find very appealing (hint: its initials are “c.s.”); 6, a person who does this to the maternal woman who gave birth to you, but is not your father; 7, a word that’s fine when farmers use (and squeeze) in relation to barned livestock, but improper when used to describe the same functioning part of a woman.


So on Saturday, Buddy Guy said good-naturedly to a fan who was pestering him about playing a song, “Will you shut the No. 3 up for a minute?”

When the crowd reacted to his use of No. 3, Guy said, “I know some will say, ‘My kid’s never heard that word.’ If they ain’t, then they ain’t got a No. 3ing television.”

This is what No. 2ed Esser off. He said there was no place for that kind of No. 1 at a benefit concert.

What’s funny, and what Esser must know, is Buddy Guy’s nickname is No. 6.

It’s true. He’s Buddy No. 6 Guy.

How do I know?

I heard it from Mick No. 3ing Jagger.

On the “Shine a Light” Stones concert film from a few years back, Guy steals the show with a blistering version of Muddy Waters’s “Champagne and Reefer.”

They play the song and at the end, Mick urges Guy to take a bow and says, “Buddy Guy . . . Buddy No. 6 Guy.”

I first thought Mick was just being a disrespectful No. 5.

Then I heard Guy tell a story about once when he was waiting backstage to meet Mick. The security guy probably had no idea who this great man was and was probably more interested in impressing all the girls with the really nice No. 7s.

But he says something like, “Don’t talk to Sir Mick. Do not make eye contact. He’s preparing for the performance and doesn’t like distractions. Be respectful to Sir Mick.”

So Sir Mick walks by and first thing Buddy says, is “What’s up, No. 6?”

And Jagger hugs him and says, “No. 6! How the No. 3 are you!”

Unlike the No. 5ing security guard, it shows Sir Mick can take a No. 3ing joke.

Guy says the nickname, in fact, goes back decades to when he was the session guitarist at Chess Records in Chicago for Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and all the greats.

He said: “Back then at Chess Records, everybody was a No. 6. They’d say, “Hey, No. 6, you’re playing too loud!’ I’d say, ‘I thought my name was Buddy.’ But after about six months of that, someone would say, ‘Hey, No. 6!’ and I’d look up just like everyone else. That’s how I became Buddy No. 6 Guy.”

And that’s the straight No. 1 on what happened on the Pittsburgh blues scene this weekend.

I relate all this so if anyone asks about it, you won’t feel like a stupid No. 4.

Nobody likes that.

I mean, WTNo.3?



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