PEOPLE DON'T NECESSARILY THINK OF THE BLUES WHEN THEY THINK OF RHODE ISLAND. HOW DID YOU BECOME A BLUES MUSICIAN, GROWING UP HERE? I picked up the guitar especially after seeing Mississippi John Hurt play one time at the Newport Folk Festival. One thing led to another and I read Sam Charter's book on The Country Blues and that gave a thumbnail sketch of a lot of the musicians who played that music and recorded in the '20s and '30s. And then I went on to find as much music as I could by those people. I started going to the Salvation Army in Providence to collect 78s [RPM records] and I found some blues records there. The first blues records I had I got from the Salvation Army: 78s of Blind Boy Fuller, Big Bill Broonzy, Tommy McClennan, and people like that.

WILL YOU EVER RETIRE? I'll retire if I'm six feet under. I won't have a choice at that point. I'm perfectly content to be doing [this]. I don't expect to be a star; I never aspired to that sort of thing. As long as I can make a living and say what's on my mind — that's one of the nice things about being in this country, you can say what's on your mind — then I'll be a contented puppy. I mean, it's not an occupation that requires the physical condition of a decathlon athlete.

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