My 10 Favorite Songs of the South on the South sung or played mostly by Southerners. I've been thinking about this post for years. I've lost the thread of writing with intent. This is an attempt to get it back. To start again. To mean what I say as write here.
If you don't Know these songs Listen. I've not provided links but—
They're all out there— & along with these quotes by venerated Southern writers Listen and you might Hear something new, amusing, different—
Listen with a new ear.
Favorite Things ~ John Coltrane 1961 jazz, no words necessary
"So you stomp the blues away. You don't stomp the blues by turning your foot into a sledgehammer. You stomp the blues by snapping your fingers, tilting your head a little on the beat, and snapping on the after beat. The more elegantly you move when you're dealing with the blues, the more effective you are. That's art." Albert Murray 1996
Rainy Night in Georgia ~ Brooks Benton 1969"May, June and July and the best part of August I've squatted and sweltered on that damn back porch without an ounce of screening." ~Truman Capote 1945
Young Gifted & Black ~ Nina Simone 1958No one questions the deep pathos of our sorrow songs sung in a minor key, the feeling tone of our religious and gospel music, the melancholy note in our blues, or the rhythmic syncopation of our jazz; but what most white America still does not know is that our literature reveals how we have transmuted suffering into song and heartbreak into compassion." ~Margaret Walter 1970
A Change is Gonna Come ~ Sam Cooke 1964"A change will come out of this war. If it doesn't, if the politicians and the people who run this country are not forced to make good the shibboleth they glibly talk about freedom, liberty, human rights, then you young men who live through it will have wasted your precious time, and those who don't live through it will have died in vain." ~William Faulkner 1943
Don't It Make You Want to go Home ~ Joe South 1971"Even today, the South is quirky, quick to take offense, fanciful: it has an attitude, a frame of mind. It prefers the flowery to the plain, likes its own jokes, its own rhetoric. It can laugh at itself at home, but it is immediately riled at any snicker from outside." ~ Eugene Walter 1971
Strange Fruit ~ sung first by Billie Holiday 1939 & by Nina SimoneIt was a strange land, amphibious, and whether water-covered or grown with jungle or robbed entirely of water and trees, as now, it had the same loneliness. He regarded the great sweep—like steppes, like moors, like deserts (all of which were imaginary to him); but more than it was any likeness, it was South. ~ Eudora Welty
Hard Times- written by Stephen Foster ~1854
"You have to push as hard as the age that pushes against you." ~ Flannery O'Connor
Ode to Billy Joe Bobbie Gentry ~1967"Love is big. Love can hold anger, love can hold pain, love can even hold hatred. It's all about love." ~Alice Walker
Carolina In My Mind James Taylor ~1968
"Home is where you hang your childhood." ~Tennessee Williams
Melissa ~ The Allman Brothers 1972 written by Gregg Allman in 1967"Respectable ladies in those days were not supposed to rouge; rice powder was as far as you were thought to go. Aunt Julia used to nibble slightly at a petal and rub a delicate bloom onto her cheeks, and would remark on occasion that she had always had color, that was her phrase for it." ~Stark Young 1951
& 1 of GOOD measure
Blue Sky ~ The Allman Brothers 1972 written by Dickie Betts"I don't think serious people, no matter where they live, hold it against any other person for where they come from." ~Eudora Welty 1978
Most of these songs originated during the 60's and early 70's. My older brother was the influence here-6 years older, he was spinning the tracks in my ear. In 1968 I was 9 years old, so I got these memorable songs at home from his room next door, or down in the Alapaha River house one summer, and later on the radio where he spun his tunes over the wires.
The songs stuck.
Why? I don't really know.
But they are the songs of my life— and they still move me with memory, with longing, and with hope.