This song is by Iowa’s own Kevin Burt. I heard it on the KCCK Big Mo Blues Show. I don’t know anything about music, but “Smack Dab in the Middle strikes me as being about dichotomies, which can be reduced to the old saying, being between a rock and a hard place or being neither fish nor fowl.
But it can be about not wanting to make a choice, or feeling like both sides of a person or issue are important.
I think the lyric “went down to the crossroads” in the lyrics might be an allusion to Robert Johnson, who went to the crossroads and sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar playing gift.
I heard this one and recognized Aretha Franklin’s voice before Big Mo ever announced her on KCCK.
I also heard a little more about MayRee and her hand-battered catfish. It’s tenderized to perfection, but you already knew that. Big Mo said her establishment is located at what sounds like the corner of Highway 73 and Snowflake Road.
I suspect it’s not on any GPS. I might have to ask somebody to draw me a map.
I heard John Heim aka Big Mo on the blues show tonight on KCCK radio 88.3 and he actually spelled the name of MayRee, the name of the cook who makes that good hand-battered catfish; it’s better because it’s battered and so the legend goes.
I knew a cook a long time ago in Austin, Texas, her name was Miss Mack. She ran the student cafeteria at Huston-Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson University) in Austin, Texas way back in the 1970s. It’s one of the country’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). And it’s one of the oldest.
Some students made fun of Miss Mack’s food. Some were brave enough to eat it. I was one of them, but I did make a Church’s Chicken run occasionally. Church’s Chicken was a fast food joint that got started in San Antonio, Texas in the early 1950s.
I also heard this old number by Eric Clapton, Going Down to the Crossroads.
As many of you know, I often listen to ‘da Friday Blues show on KCCK radio broadcast out of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Last Friday, he told listeners his email address and invited fans to get in touch with him. I can’t remember ever hearing any KCCK radio show host make that invitation.
So, I did. I sent him a message last Friday night telling him how much I appreciate his show, the Big Mo Blues Show. It airs fantastic blues music every Friday night starting at 6:00 PM.
John actually got back to me yesterday. We both got a big kick out of the whole thing. I’ve never done anything like cold-calling or emailing a celebrity—because that’s what John is. We shared some memories and really got a charge out of that. He’s a great guy.
And he runs a great show. So, give a listen to John Heim aka Big Mo every Friday night on KCCK 88.3 FM in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. You can listen on internet radio if you’re not in the area.
And if you like Big Mo’s show, let him know, email@example.com.
Two songs I heard tonight on the Big Mo Blues Show on KCCK 88.3 radio out of Cedar Rapids & Iowa City, and I can’t pick the best one. One is new, by John Primer, “Hard Times,” out in 2022 and speaks to how hard times are right now.
The other is old, by B.B. King, from 1971 and speaks to how hard times could be back then.
I listen to the KCCK radio station (88.3) Big Mo Blues Show on most Friday nights and the host is John Heim, aka Big Mo. He always mentions a sponsor he calls May Reese hand-battered catfish. There are a couple of slogans which make it sound real.
“It’s better because it’s battered!”
“It’s packed with nitrates!”
“Coming soon to a river near you!”
Nobody but Big Mo ever advertises it and I’m not even sure I’m spelling “May Reese” correctly. In fact, I doubt there is such a person. But it’s fun to listen to Big Mo talk about May Reese’s hand-battered catfish.
Sena bought some breaded catfish nuggets from Hy-Vee, which is about as close to May Reese as we’re likely to get. They’re IQF, which means Individually Quick Frozen. Sena’s just slightly dubious about trying them. But she’s going to cook them, just because Big Mo talks about hand-battered catfish (better because it’s battered!”) and it’s mainly because I get a kick out of the legendary May Reese.
We can’t remember ever eating catfish. When I was a kid, I used to fish for bullhead, which are in the same family as catfish. In fact, they are sometimes called bullhead catfish, which I didn’t even know until today when I looked it up on the web.
I fished for them in a creek in East Park in Mason City where I grew up. I would catch them and throw them back. They were almost always small and sometimes one would manage to squirm enough to sting me with the very sharp spine on its fins.
I never brought bullhead home because Mom made it abundantly clear she would never clean them.
I doubt Sena would ever cook hand-battered bullhead, even if you could find them IQF in the grocery store.
I’m not sure if bullhead would be “packed with nitrates” and I don’t think May Reese would hand batter them—unless she used a baseball bat.
I heard Riveria Paradise by Stevie Ray Vaughn a few minutes ago on the Big Mo Blues Show on KCCK 88.3 radio. I think I may have this CD somewhere in the house. Big Mo really appreciates virtuoso guitar players like SRV. That’s because Big Mo is a guitar player himself.
Another thing Big Mo mentions every Friday night are the show’s sponsors. One is a place I never heard of. He says the name and it sounds like “May Rees (Reese?) hand battered catfish; it’s better because it’s battered.”
I can’t find it anywhere. I’m beginning to think it’s a Big Mo joke. It’s similar to another thing he says every Friday night: “It’s Big Mo with your blue prophylactic, protecting you from the demon seeds of life.”