March 6th, 2011
On Hatteberg’s People, his name is Berry Harris. He’s a blues’ player. Been so all his life.
“It’s just a part of my life, like therapy you know.”
Wichitian Berry Harris has been playing the blues for over 70 years.
“I don’t know how to express myself in words. It comes out in what I play.”
“I guess it is what they call the ‘soul’ of your playing ‘ya know.”
He’s one of the old-time blues players. He’s been on the ‘circuit’ for years…played everywhere.
“This is not a blues town, this is a jazz town, has been when you were younger.”
But time, like stoplights change --- Wichita has few places for blues players like Berry—
One exception is a little place near Douglas and Hillside called C-Major. On Friday’s and Saturdays it’s where musicians come to simply to do what comes naturally.
Berry has spent his life trying to make a few bucks with his music, raising a family and simply trying to do the right thing.
“The crowd is what motivates me to play. It certainly can’t be money. I’m not play for ‘money’. I’m not making ‘money’. I make ‘change’, but I’m not making any money.”
At home with his Granddaughter…..the past seems long ago ---
Even though the music is timeless, people aren’t.
His wife Loretta has been seriously ill –– much of his days are spent with her at a rest home and rehabilitation center.
“It takes a good woman to stay with a musician for 50 years, I’ll tell you that.”
It wasn’t till the past few years that others discovered his music – he had a chance to travel to the east coast and overseas to play with the big boys. He turned it down – to stay with his wife.
“Money I need. But money is not everything. Sometimes you have to choose between a dollar…and what’s right.”
“This is my baby here.”