My favorite way to tune out the world’s problems is with BB and Lucille (his Gibson guitar Model E355) playing “The thrill is gone” or “Need to pay the cost to be the boss”
Back in 1949, when King was in his early 20s, he performed at a nightclub in Twist, Arkansas, in the dead of winter. To heat the cold room, King recalled “they would take something that looked like a big garbage pail, half fill it with kerosene, light that fuel [and] set it in the middle of the dance floor.” But on this night, a fight broke out between two men, and the pail was knocked over.
“It spilled on the floor, it looked like a river fire,” the guitarist said. “And everyone started to run for the front door, including B.B. King.”
BB managed to make it to safety outside — only to realize he had left his guitar behind. He raced back inside to retrieve it even as the wooden building started to fall in around him.
The next day, he learned that two men had died in the blaze that night. The fight had been over a woman who worked at the club. Her name was Lucille.
B.B. claimed he “almost lost his life” rushing back into the nightclub that night. He christened his guitar after her “to remind me never to do a thing like that again.” BB and Lucille lived a rich history together filled with joy and pain…which to me is a perfect match for playing the blues…
So it is in her honor, I christened my Cervelo S5 road bike Lucille… and just like her namesake she delivered a great performance every time we played together. But she also reminds me to play it cool under fire and not take dangerous risks with her.
Today Lucille was critically injured as I drove home from a Dr.’s appointment. She was riding in a car top bike carrier as I drove into my garage…. It is painful to think about. It was my fault.. My mind was elsewhere… I’m feeling the blues………..
I learned long ago that BB had many Lucille’s throughout his career…one was stolen, some were improvements over the others… BB himself would occasionally stuff rags into the f-holes of Lucille’s to reduce feedback (Not going there…). On his signature models BB requested that the f-holes be removed entirely to edge Lucille towards his signature sound (still not touching it) … but no matter the change BB always named her Lucille.
So while the Mechanics at Fitwerx look over Lucille… I’ll sing the blues…
We’ll ride in the mornin’,
We’ll ride at night….We’ll ride pretty baby til we ride just right
Well we’ll ride in the mornin’,
Ride before day…Ride pretty baby drive my blues away
Please forgive me baby …you know how I feel..
There may be other rides……. But they will always be Lucille…………..