Something You Hadn’t Planned.

Jon Pareles’s NY Times obit (archived) for the peerless Huey “Piano” Smith has a paragraph with a quote about the creative process so compact and pungent that I am compelled to post it:

Mr. Smith’s lyrics were full of droll wordplay and irresistible nonsense-syllable choruses. “I use slangs and things like that,” he was quoted as saying in John Wirt’s biography, “Huey ‘Piano’ Smith and the Rockin’ Pneumonia Blues” (2014), “When you put the music with words and things together, the songs just make themselves. And after you listen at it, it says something its own self, that you hadn’t planned.”

For those not familiar with his work: “Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” is pure perfection (as is his daughter’s name, Acquelyn Donsereaux).


  1. J.W. Brewer says

    The NYT piece does not note that the “Boogie-Woogie Flu” in context was a transparent attempt to riff and/or cash in on then-current events, viz. the “Asian Flu” pandemic of 1957-58 which killed a few million people worldwide. Some soreheads might think that in poor taste, but who cares about them, it’s a great tune. Among the numerous subsequent cover versions, I’m partial to the Flamin’ Groovies’ take.

  2. That’s right, you’re a fellow Flamin’ Groovies fan! I don’t imagine there are many of us left, not that there ever were. Practically the definition of a cult band.

  3. Oh thanks for including his daughter’s name, that’s wonderful.
    She’s a nurse – Nurse Ackie!

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