These are true stories about my father’s experiences working on the Railroad for 31 years. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.
Lady G 😘💋
There is a creek running under the railroad track in a rural section of the mainline between two major cities in Georgia.
My train crossed the bridge over this creek on trips to and from these cities–usually in the dark of night.
At a certain time of year, fireflies would gather, in numbers too many to count, from the surface of the creek, up to, and above the trees lining either side of the creek’s banks. These wondrous creatures were so closely compacted that they illuminated the entire area in a way that resembled a spectacular show of lights.
On nights, during the time of year for the fireflies, our crew would, on approaching the bridge, slow the train down and dim the engine headlights in order to observe this spectacular scene. We were well aware that we were among only a few who would ever be lucky enough to witness this beautiful and natural phenomenon.
Over the years, I would fondly recall and ponder the meaning of this experience.
I concluded that every firefly represents the birth of a new soul that is beginning life on earth.
Usually, that soul arrives in our midst, finds a mate, lives its life here on Earth and then departs.
Southern folklore has it that each soul that once resided on earth is represented by a star in the heavens. I believe that a flickering star is sending a heavenly signal to its earthly mate about its new location.
In essence, it is an invitation for both of them to reunite and spend eternity together.
Admittedly, I can’t be sure that my belief is true; but, it definitely seems likely because the firefly show took place at Spirit Creek.
I don’t know about y’all but I believe that my Daddy could be right!
This post is a continuation of the “My Jams” Series. If you haven’t already, please check out “My Jams” posts for 1966-1971
There’s a whole lot of ruckus going on today. Mama is gathering things and Daddy is going back and forth between the house and the carport.
The TV is on and Trooper Terry, the weatherman/kid’s TV show host, is talking about how hot it’s going to be today. To prove his point, he asks his animated friend, Freddie, to elaborate. Suddenly, as if by magic, a very sweaty Freddie appears at the bottom of the screen and immediately begins to melt into a puddle of liquid.
Need I say more?
I hear Daddy say, “Bay, did you get everything?”
Mama says, “Yeah, I put all the clothes in the suitcases—you can go ‘head and put ‘em in the trunk.”
Shortly thereafter, Mom leads me to the car. Although I am a bit bleary-eyed, I ask, “Where we goin?”
Daddy says, “We going to see Grandma and Granddaddy.”
I ask, “Are we gone see RonnieEricLeshiaandLenel? Sorry folks, I tended to singsong my big cousins’ names. Mama smiles and shakes her head to express the affirmative.
Now that I know that, I’m good!
Needless to say, just before we leave, mama pops her 1971 “various artists” 8-track into the tape player. Then she gives daddy a moon pie and a cold drink. Remember, it behooved us to pack our own snacks in order to keep from having to make too many stops in rural Georgia towns. I’ll let you ponder our reasons for keeping those stops to a minimum.
Anyway, after taking a big bite of moon pie, Daddy looked at me and said, “Bay, go to sleep.” We’ll be in Eufaula ‘bout dinnertime.”
Mama asks, “Georgia time or Alabama time?” He says, “Alabama time.”
Side note: In cities that border Georgia and Alabama, there is no such thing as Eastern or Central time; it is either Georgia or Alabama time 🙂
Phenix City, Alabama is a different story altogether. I’ll tell you about that some other time.
At any rate, as I start the process of getting settled, I hear Al Green croon, “I’m so tired of being alone…” I look over at mama, and for the first time, I notice that her stomach is getting bigger 😉
And with that, we rode out! Right into the summer of 1972!
Yes sir, you know what time it is! Greetings and welcome to 1972! Are you good? I hope so! Please believe that as long as I got my Mama and Daddy everything is copasthetic!
Anyway, let’s do this!
My Jams ‘72
“Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green
You might as well know upfront that you will see Mr. Green’s name on this list again!
Y’all, I love me some President Obama, but he needs to leave this song alone and stay in his political lane!
“I’m so in love with you, whatever you want to do is alright with me.”
Baby I wish I had some extra keys on my keyboard so I could accurately demonstrate the way in which Al styles this verse.
“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
I’m not gonna lie; this song scared the wits out of me when I was little. Even as a young’un, I knew that there was something spooky going on here- hell I didn’t even need to know what the word “superstition” meant to know that it wasn’t good.
No matter, I still love it!
“You Ought To Be With Me” by Al Green
What did I tell you! I told you that you would see this name again! HA!
Goose bumps, goose bumps, goose bumps! The horns, the organ, the guitar, THE VOICE!
Aw sh!t now!
“I don’t want to waste my time/ if you want to be a friend of mine/I want to hold you tight, love you right/Put good feelin’s in your night”
What Al does to the word “night” at the end of that lyric… I JUST CAN’T!!!!!!!!!!!
“I’m Still In Love With You” by Al Green
Yeah, I can see right now that you don’t believe fat meat is greasy! There are no words!
“I Wanna Be Where You Are” by Michael Jackson
“Could it be I stayed away too long!”
I can barely contain myself! At this point, I don’t know if I can finish this damn thang!
“Ask Me What You Want” by Millie Jackson
If you don’t know who Millie Jackson is then somebody needs to freeze your assets and take your freaking soul sista/brotha card!
Mama’nem (Translation: Mama and them) use to bump the hell out of this 45!
Yessuh…Millie can blow! She is something of a home girl for me; straight outta Thomson, GA.
I think I read somewhere that Millie might not have liked this song that much. To me it doesn’t matter if she liked it or not; hell we couldn’t tell.
A great singer can belt out the dictionary!
“…and I’ll try my best to get it, get it, get it, get it!”
“Harry Hippie” by Bobby Womack
This is a beautiful, but sobering, song.
I heard that “Harry Hippie” was really meant to be more of a folk or country type tune. Clearly, Bobby must have said, “To hell with that!”
Mama used to play this one when she was getting ready to run everybody’s behind out of the house party.
Time to clean up! As they say, “You ain’t gotta go home but you gotta get the hell out of here!”
“Work to Do” by The Isley Brothers
After you finish reading this blog, I want you to go listen closely to that damn piano on this jam!
NO! I simply CANNOT!!!!!
“…I gotta make it for you, I gotta make it for me!” Ron! Ron! Ron! Ohhhh Ron!
If you dig that piano, you might want to go check out their song “Brown-eyed Girl.” No worries, it is not a remake of the pop song. It is something altogether else baby! If you do, let me know what you think.
Well it looks like my work here is just about done! Farewell 1972!
This morning, while taking my daughter to school, I got shook! I mean completely knocked the hell over! I was utterly caught off-guard! Do you want to know what did it? A song! Yes my loves, I was knocked off my ass by a song.
Here’s the interesting part, the song that initiated all of this madness was not well known by the masses. However, it held special significance for me because I listened to it over and over during my pre-teen years. I guess I was pining away over a fictitious relationship that I ‘had’ with this dude down the street. Anyway, when I heard the song today, I was immediately bum-rushed by every single image that I had ever seen or imagined from the year 1981.
Now that I have sufficiently tortured you with preliminaries, I guess I should name that tune! Are you ready? It was “Who’s Been Kissing You?” by: Hot Cuisine. Yeah…you probably don’t know it right off hand. However, you can go to You-tube and check it out, here’s the link.
Whoa! I think I hear the distant chattering of ‘old head’ music buffs questioning my song knowledge. Well let me explain…
You see, I was lucky enough to have been born into a magical time and place. In this place, there reigned a powerful Godfather, not the Italian mobster; I am talking about Soul Brother Number One! Anyway, our Godfather infused the city’s airwaves with esoteric knowledge on ‘the good foot’ and ‘the one.’
Here’s a quick primer: ‘The good foot’ refers to the dance and the ‘the one’ refers to the beat. Now, if you require more information on either of these concepts you might want to consult with world renowned Funk Bassist Bootsy Collins.
Anyhow, as a natural born student of soul music, I would spend any given day in 1981 taping songs. You see, back in those days, we didn’t buy songs; we taped them as they were being played on the radio. In order to do this, you had to place a cassette tape into a tape recorder, press play/record, and sit it right next to the radio. Some might call that piracy; I choose to call it creativity.
At any rate, I would sit for hours waiting for the DJ to play my favorite songs so that I could include them on my tape. Most times this strategy worked pretty well. Then other times, not so much! I remember getting pissed when the DJ played my jam just as I was going to the bathroom or just as I was coming back from making a peanut butter sandwich. In cases like these, I either stopped in my tracks in order to try to record as much of the song as I could or I had to wait until the joker played it again. Damn! Kids today don’t know anything about that!
Now on days when I was particularly bored or had a bunch of cassettes, I would simply record everything that the DJ played-at least until I ran out of tapes.
Suffice it to say, I had collected a massive hodge-podge of songs from 1981 (and years prior). Some songs were popular and some were not. But once I had captured them onto my cassettes I learned them all! Hence, the reason that I know songs like “Gigolette” by Ozone-featuring Teena Marie or the song that tipped me over this morning! I hope you’re smiling!
What’s the point of all of this? Hell I don’t know! Just kidding! No, here’s the point, I have decided to post some of my favorite songs from the past along with a little commentary every Thursday. I would love to hear your feedback on my selections as well as your suggestions of other songs from that week’s time period. Just so you know, you can shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com to discuss!
In the meantime, if you think you know a little sumthin’ about old school soul, funk and R&B GET AT ME!