Unfortunately we had to wake up earlier than we are accustomed to today for the Farmington Outdoor Series at 1:30. Needless to say, it was a little difficult. This is the last show before going home. We are all really excited to get back. The tour has been a blast, but there is no place like home.
Lying on a cot in the insane ward at the general hospital, George Carolmas, a subject of the king of Greece, has for thirty-five days been asleep without interruption except for one day last week. Before being removed from his rooming house, 15 West Fifth street, on March 12, he has slept for four days.
Carolmas came to America from his home in Athens, about eight months ago. He worked on the railroad as a track layer after arriving in Missouri. Like most of the thrifty foreigners, Carolmas saved most of his wages and horded it for the proverbial rainy day. In some way which has not been satisfactorily explained he lost his little savings and brooded over his misfortune.
The Greeks who knew him were aware that Carolmas was brooding over his loss, but little attention was paid until March 8. That morning Carolmas failed to get up and go to work. His landlord knocked on the door of his room several times during the day to awaken him, but failed to receive any response. In the afternoon he entered the room and discovered that his roomer was sound asleep and that speaking to him or shaking him would not waken him. Becoming frightened the Greek landlord summoned Dr. George Ringel of the emergency hospital.
~ From the Kansas City Journal, April 13, 1909
The Narcoleptic Bluesman
At the early age of six, John Adams Estes was blinded in one eye during an unfortunate sandlot baseball incident. He later lost vision in the other eye, allowing him to join the ranks of iconic blind bluesmen such as; Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie Johnson, Sonny Terry, and Blind Boy Fuller.
Obviously, Being Blind wasn’t the only Obstacle Sleepy John had to endure. His nickname spurs from his tendency to fall asleep while sitting on a stool or even standing up. These unintentional naps were later diagnosed as Narcolepsy, which is caused by blood pressure irregularity.
While there are no actual accounts (that I could find) of Sleepy falling asleep on-stage, I’d have to imagine when he was touring around the South playing every night, it happened at some point. Wouldn’t that be a site?
Estes was mentioned in the memoirs of Big Bill Broonzy as having judged a guitar contest in Chicago. Memphis Minnie had just recently moved to town, and found herself in a guitar duel with Big Bill. In a glorious upset Minnie beat Bill Broonzy and became wildly popular in the city’s blues circuit, all thanks to her fellow Tennessean, Sleepy . Whenever Sleepy John and his band were in Chicago they were regularly hired by Al Capone (who was crazy about the blues) and his people to play private parties and events. Now that sounds like a right proper good time to me.
- – Big Charlie
- Thank you Iain for for the recommendation. If you think you know some blues I ough’ta know E-mail me at BigCharlieSkinner@Gmail.Com