Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Thomas Edison declared that “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” If that’s true, then the famed inventor of the light bulb might’ve found Son Seals’ live performances positively incandescent. Seals, a blues heavyweight with a string of badass albums on Chicago-based Alligator Records spanning the early ‘70’s to the mid-‘90’s, played a scorching hot guitar and noticeably perspired on stage accordingly. And one night at the long-departed, one-of-a-kind New York City honky-tonk, the The Lone Star Café, Seals quite memorably brought those two phenomena together.

As was typical of my many visits to the East Village landmark, I was cradling one in a series of Lonestar longnecks while gazing up mere feet from the front of the stage. Seals was deep in his set, as well as his sweat, as he broke into his encore ‘Funky Bitch,’ a blistering tune originally recorded from the Wise Fools Club in Chicago for his 1978 album “Live and Burning.” And on this particular visit Seals was sporting an extra grown-out scraggly beard which tapered to a point about three inches below his chin, causing the extensive sweat dripping down his face to gather inside his growth, then periodically drip from its lowest location.

As Seals played the searing extended solo on his wide-body Gibson guitar late in the song, the dripping became more pronounced, almost rhythmic. And that’s when I noticed it: the perspiration drops rapidly falling from his beard were cascading to the stage floor exactly on the beat, seemingly choreographed for what must have been a solid (make that liquid) minute. Low-key, it was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed at a live show.

Though remarkable to see, it was complete happenstance, of course. Or was it? Son Seals was a stellar if less notorious pro’s pro of the blues circuit, eventually inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame posthumously in 2009. He possessed both the playing and the stage chops of a true road-warrior blues veteran. Is it possible that for one magic musical moment in Manhattan his sweating and soloing were both in such a zone that they actually synched up? Could he somehow even have been conscious of it enough to, well, control it? One would have to surmise that only a true genius could possibly have conceived of engineering such a feat, let alone successfully pulled it off.

But you know what Edison had to say about that.