Originally published in Arthur No. 10 (May 2004)…
T-MODEL KNOWS BETTER
T-Model Ford says a lot. He says he’s 79 years old. He says he’s “the Boss of the Blues! TheTaildragger! From Greenvillllllllle….Mississippi.“ He says he doesn’t need his cane anymore. And he says he can help us. So, every two months, Arthur calls up T-Model and asks him for some advice. T-Model gives his sage answers, then we transcribe the conversation with some interpreting help from Bruce Watson at Fat Possum, the Oxford, Mississippi record label that releases T-Model’s original badass records (more info at fatpossum.com). We love T-Model ‘round here: his last album, the Jim Dickinson-produced Bad Man, is still on the office Arthur turntable, 18 months after its release. But whatever. If you’ve got some non-math questions for T-Model, and we know that you do, email ‘em to email@example.com and we’ll pass ‘em along if they’re any good.
Arthur: One of our readers asks, “How come an older man can go with a younger woman, but you never see an older woman going with a younger man?” Is that true, T-Model?
T-Model: Yep. Well, the main one problem with the young womens, and then their problem is with the older women. They want a little harder piece of candy. That’s the difference in it.
You see that happening in your life ever?
Oh yeah, man. It’s happening right now. [laughs]
Here’s another question. One of our readers asks, “T-Model, are you a voting man? Who are you planning to vote for president this November?”
I ain’t even interested in it. I ain’t never voted in my life. Anything they do is alright with me. If they do good, it’s alright, and if they do bad, it’s alright. If they do bad, it’s alright, and if they do good, it’s alright. See, when you vote for somebody, it’s like a woman… You see a woman yonder, you get on your head, you want her whether or not. Then when you get her, it ain’t what you thought. And that’s the same thing with you voting for somebody. You vote for a person, he’ll talk sweet to you ‘til you get in, then when you get in, you get SOUR. You ain’t doin’ nothing what you say you gon’ do. That’s the way it happens. I ain’t done bad ever who be the president, and I ain’t done too good ever who be the president. It don’t matter. I ain’t never voted!
Do you want your kids to vote?
That’s left up to them–they grown. [laughs] You know what? My part, I don’t worry ‘bout nothin’. I don’t even worry about a woman. If they do, it’s alright, and if they don’t, it’s alright. Then I won’t have to be thinking about it, worrying about it, grieving about it, can’t half eat, can’t do nothing good, so just don’t let that get in your head. You know what give a man a hard blues? When the bottom wear off his last pair of shoes. He can’t walk on no briars, he can’t walk on the gravel hardly, and he sure can’t walk on no coals on fire if he ain’t got no shoes on. If he do, I want to see him! [laughs]
One more question, T-Model: What wood makes the best walking stick? You ever use a stick when you’re walking around?
Oak ain’t too good. Hickory is the best. You can’t bend an oak like you can hickory. Go with the hickory. That’s what I got in my hand right now!