Walter “Furry” Lewis, one of the earliest masters of the bottleneck guitar, was born on this day in 1893 in the Mississippi Delta, cut his musical teeth on Beale Street, and lived all the way until 1981.

I don’t usually feature multiple songs, but this video of Furry performing “Good Morning, Judge,” “John Henry,” and “Furry’s Blues” for an audience of Leon Russell and friends (with Leon on piano for the last tune) is just too good. I think this was in 1971; it was clearly back when people smoked indoors without thinking about it.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.