The Saturday Afternoon Jam at Harling's gained a reputation over the years. It was well-known, even internationally. It was quite the scene for more than 25 years.
One day an entire band came in and played. They were on the road and playing a local venue that night. They were there to promote their gig later that night and to check out the Kansas City cats.
They were all old black Blues guys - very disheveled-looking. They looked like they slept in the van every other night to save on the hotel bills.
They were really good - kick-ass, authentic straight-ahead Blues. They played a half-dozen songs, give-or-take. They stayed the rest of the afternoon, listening and drinking.
At the end of the gig, as I was tearing down, one of them came up to me and said,
"Now I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but you is the funkiest-ass white boy I ever heard!"
"Sir" I respectfully said, "I take it as a supreme compliment. Thank you!"
I didn't know it at the time, but several years later I found out I had a great-great-great grandfather who was black.
His name was Jonathan Hinkle and apparently he was a free black man before the Civil War. He is listed as one of the first 50 original settlers of Monroe County, Indiana, which is where I'm from, originally.
Other than the fact that he moved there from North Carolina we know nothing of his back-story.
His son married a Cherokee. Jonathans' granddaughter was my great-grandmother, Ella, whom I knew. She died when I was 8 or 9. She was white, and was accepted as such, but after learning of Jonathan I realized I hadn't noticed that she was dark-skinned for a white, and her hair was black and kinky.
Here's a picture of Jonathan and his wife, Catherine. Cathrine's ethnicity is hard to determine.
In the end, we're all mutts, you know? No one is pure-blooded, especially in America. I consider that a good thing.
I believe it’s possible that old black Blues musician was sensing Jonathan Hinckle somewhere in my energetic bio-field. My cell-memory contains him, you know.
However, it's obvious my Irish genes are dominant!
There is an oral history in my family that the name (EuDaly) is French.
Sometime after the incident with the old Black Blues guy, I had the same experience with a drunk Irishman.
One day after hearing me introduced to the crowd - "Ladies and gentlemen! On guitar! Jay EuDaly!" - a drunk Irishman came up to me.
"You're Irish!" he said with a drunken Irish drawl.
"French" I replied.
"Oo nooo!" he said. "Jes' loook atch ye! There's noo doubt! I just came from the Daley clan gathering in Ireland. We Daley's are a clan of minstrels and story-tellers and it's no accident that you're a musician! The Gaelic for your name is O'Dalig."
Something in me resonated.
I found out later he was right. My Irish ancestors had been mercenaries fighting for French Huguenots in the 16th and 17th centuries. Thus the French connection.
The Huguenots wound up settling all along the eastern seaboard of America - including North Carolina.
Then there was the traveling Black Blues guitarist/singer who I met at the Jam. He would rent an amp from me whenever he came into town for a gig.
One day after bringing my amp back to my studio, he stayed and we talked for a while. Come to find out he had a Masters degree in history!
I showed him the above picture of Jonathan Hinkle and he got very excited.
He said a photograph like this is a very rare thing, especially if there's a woman in it. When I told him Jonathan Hinkle came to Indiana from North Carolina before the Civil War he said,
"I'm not surprised, you’re Irish, aren't you?"
"Yes" I said, "What makes you say that?"
"Well," he said, "First of all, you have that look. Secondly, the Irish have more in common blood-wise with certain African tribes than they do with Europeans. Many times I've heard you play, and in my experience, Irish musicians generally have more soul than other white musicians. Thirdly, there's a history of Irish slave-owners in the Carolinas freeing their slaves before the Civil War."
"What are you talking about? Where the hell do you get all this stuff?"
"Oh it's well-known," he said, "It's just not taught in school. I can give you a list of books and authors if you want."
"Yes, I want!" I said.
He did; it was an Afro-centric view of history that was very interesting and I read it all - but that's another subject.
All 3 of these incidents happened to me at, or because of, the Saturday Afternoon Jam and encounters like these are a part of why I love my job.
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