five knuckle shuffle

Credited by Frank Zappa as being the inspiration for cultivating his own Viva Zapata! crop of facial hair, Californian bluesman, Johnny Otis was born Ionnis Veliotes four days before Christmas in 1921. From Wiki:

\”In the 1960s he entered journalism and politics, losing a campaign for a seat in the California Assembly (one reason for the loss may be that he ran under his much less well known real name). He then became chief of staff for Democratic Congressman Mervin Dymally.\” Peaking at # 9 on the US Billboard Chart in 1958, this ungarnished side-order of authentic Bo Diddley was Otis\’ only Top Ten hit. A capable politician and tireless advocate for civil rights – addressing the 1965 race riots in his 1968 publication, \”Listen to the lambs\” – he later founded and pastored a new church, Landmark Community Gospel Church, which held Sunday services in Santa Rosa, California.

I knew an Otis on the outskirts of Glasgow who was one of the shyest young men I have ever met, and tortured by his name. He used to alleviate – or deflect – unwanted attention deficit disorder by burning his initials into the upholstery on the back seat of our shared expressway bus. I once, to be fair, smashed an elbow into the teeth of a youth on the same when he insisted on getting in on my own face. The driver might have made an unscheduled stop had a thirteen year old threatened to cap him directly on the spot, but I very much doubt it.

\’See no; hear no; speak no\’ is a thoroughly Glaswegian mantra. We are all Neutral Born Buddhists, Kill Bills and Tarantinos be damned.

THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW: WILLIE AND THE HAND JIVE from \”Willie And The Hand Jive\” 45 (Capitol) 1957 (US)


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