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Biggie and the Blues: What Generation Gap?

BEGIN 5447301


So the right tune helps with free throws? That may be helpful for writer Katie Davis. She lives in Washington, D.C. and often drives kids in her neighborhood to school sporting events. And she listens when she does.

Ms. KATIE DAVIS (Writer): I packed the sedan with JP, Biggie, Jordan, his sister Crystal, and head out to our Friday night game.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. DAVIS: The boys in their jerseys, Number 4, 22 and 41. Crystal's chatter is still, her eyes lined with black to smolder. In her pockets she fingers a picture of Jordan, his hair all out and unbraided, blackmail, in case he starts in on how she's got a crush on a boy from the other team. Left off Calvert Street down into the parkway, the city gone, the woods a dark tunnel. No one saying much, just singing softly to the radio, getting ready.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. DAVIS: I lean into the curve, listen to the singing, listen to the lyrics.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. DAVIS: Biggie, change the station, I say. Aw, come on, Katie. Just go ahead and change it. My mother lets me listen to this song, Biggie says. It helps me get ready for my game. Look, you and I both know that that girl is not singing about drinking a milkshake. Now change the station or I will put on the blues.

Biggie turns the radio off, his mouth tight with disgust. He hates the blues. He's begged for mercy from the blues right in this car, the day I tried to introduce him to Sun House and Robert Johnson. I wanted him to hear that chord held down long ago and still vibrating today. Not one minute would Biggie listen to the blues. And you know, if he did, he'd catch me, me humming Rock Me All Night Long and Footprints on the Ceiling, going on and on about the art of the blues, while I'm turning Biggie's game song off.

(Soundbite of song Footprints on the Ceiling)

CHADWICK: A story from writer Katie Davis. The song Footprints on the Ceiling is performed here by the blues band Mississippi Heat.

(Soundbite of Footprints on the Ceiling) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Katie Davis