RatStrat.com

I'm hobbyist, a back-porch songwriter driven to find old six-string spirit-callers with new songs in 'em. Through this store on Reverb.com I offer guitars (and stomps) that seem especially suited to channelling what folks once called "blue devils", those restless spirits that have inspired so much of American music. Do you believe guitars can channel ghosts? Belief in spirits and the possibility of interacting with them is a long-standing tradition in the South. Bottletrees are still used in rural areas here, protecting homes by trapping malfeasant spirits. It is said you can hear those spirits moan when the wind blows over a bottletree.

I stock vintage and modern guitars chosen because they seem, like the bottletrees, to catch and hold the reckless, restless spirit of Americana.

Sometime in early 1984 I was sitting with a blind musician who also ran a music store in Oxford, Mississippi. I was plunking on a big vintage Gibson archtop he had for sale that had a crack in the top. It sounded great, throaty and yet articulate. But I kept coming back to the crack, it was bothering me that there was an 'imperfection". Ron, the blind cat, told me that archtop tops sometimes have to crack to find the place they are comfortable in and be able to really move, to get past tension that is holding them back. He said fixing that particular crack would probably change the guitar. I was young and sat there like a fool, worrying about that crack, my own tension holding me back. Still wish I had bought that guitar. Even more I wish I had heard what the man was telling me.

Come south, come to Mississippi, follow the historic Blues Trail -- and your contemporary one. Let go of some tension. Then choose a guitar that will conjure the same spirits Delta children once caught, nailed to barn walls and teased with one-string diddly bows, the blue devils that haunted Jimmie Rodgers and Skip James, Hank Williams and Honeyboy Edwards, Mother Maybelle and Memphis Minnie, and Duane, and Janis, and yes, Elvis.

And f you can't make it to Mississippi this year, I'd be pleased to ship you your choice of a six-string Americana spirit-caller!

red beans and ricely yours,
Billy 'pup' Cochrane