This week’s classic clip is Otis Gibbs’ almost unbearably moving ‘Ghosts Of Our Fathers’ recorded live by KDHX radio station in St Louis. From his seventh album ‘Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth’ released in 2014, Otis tells of a next-door neighbour friend of his father’s who used to come round to their house. The friend was an ex-bare-knuckle fighter “with a busted-up nose and cauliflower ears” who was nearly blind from the knocks he had taken. However, the song goes on to reveal that the hardest blow he had ever taken was the loss of his son, who was killed in Vietnam.
“How to carry on, when the hardest punch is thrown?” How indeed.
Otis is originally from Wanamaker near Indianapolis, a bit further north than your average country singer. He has toured the UK extensively, just him and his guitar. At a gig, there are no dazzling guitar solos but years of playing mean that he produces a really nice sound. He has a back catalogue of great songs, some of which showcase his very definite left-of-centre political persuasion. There is a warm, intimate atmosphere at the venue with Otis telling sometimes moving, sometimes funny stories between songs to his loyal fans with amiable good humour. He has a gentle gruff charm, though I suspect that he is not a man to be messed with. Someone not to miss next time he is in your area.