[aired] Between Stations: Yellow Dog Blues Backstory

Enlightening walk-through by Mississippi writer Suzassippi with some fantastic photos of the actual location where the “Southern cross the dog” in W.C. Handy’s Yellow Dog Blues.

In 2014, the Disquiet Junto participated in an NPR Studio360 project to record modern versions of Handy’s track in honor of its 100th anniversary. My track, Between Stations, “won” the event, and I ended up on air with host Kurt Anderson and musician Marc Anthony Thompson.

The Blues makes us aware of how the universe perceives harmony through our ears. Its “source material” is not so much sadness, but a universal alienation. Everyone fears loneliness from different directions. Handy’s song says to me, “There’s no use for home where you always lose who you are,” which was the launch point for my recording. Suzassippi lends wonderful visual, grounded context to all the tracks she highlights, and quotes me at the end of her article.

via: Suzassippi

Back a number of years ago, I first read about where the Southern Cross the Dog in a Farm Bureau magazine quiz. I had never heard of it, and it was an intriguing story about the town of Moorhead and the junction of the old Southern Railway system and the “Yellow Dog”–commonly thought to mean the Yazoo Delta Railway.

Winner: Westy Reflector cover of Yellow Dog Blues. Of it, the judge Marc Anthony Thompson said “I just wanted something that I really liked to listen to.” Westy Reflector said “no one in the story is in a fixed place” and “blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material.”

My faves: All of which, “I just really liked to listen to.”

Ari Swan cover of Yellow Dog Blues.

The City of Light cover of Yellow Dog Blues. I liked that he repeats the refrain ‘Southern cross the dog’ as did the original Handy heard.

Addieville featuring Sara Murphy cover of Yellow Dog Blues.


[img] Echium Candicans

Echium Candicans

pride of Madeira
subshrub invasive ornament
Spanish nectar
soda jerk two-straw shake
going-steady bees
canyon hillside date
10 minutes drive
from a retrofit-rail-car diner
off Sunset
May 09, 2018 at 04:46PM
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[img] dream state 20180506

dream state 20180506
wellmans divide
idyllwild, ca
elev.: 2985m / 9792ft
May 06, 2018 at 11:44PM
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[img] Chuck Walla, the wizard lizard

Chuck Walla, the wizard lizard, could make a blizzard, but his gizzard he likes hot.
May 05, 2018 at 10:44PM
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[img] dream state 20180504

dream state 20180504
May 04, 2018 at 11:11PM
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[dispatch] tracked vs found

May 02, 2018 at 04:33PM
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[img] Western Squirrels

“Western squirrels are bronzed like sunsets, Rodin’s The Thinker, and Orange County skin. They eat red walnuts and yellow loquats al-fresco.”
– Sir David Doñaburro, National Ponchographic Explorer
May 01, 2018 at 09:32PM
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[img] Human / Nature

Human: “Watch it, man!”
Nature: “Watch it, man.”
April 29, 2018 at 02:07PM
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[track] Every Light Leads (20180426.1)

all you’ve got is a feeling
and what i got won’t show
b/c our visions of love
only intersected long ago

gonna go where every light leads
if it only takes me round the block
i don’t care
at least i’m searching
at least i’m driving
where you’re still aching
to get somewhere

first time i knew luck was
the first time we laughed at the same truth
but there’s only so many lies
you can sell yourself and still pull through

“burning a bridge” burns one ahead,
not one already crossed.
those things you leave behind
are, anyways, already lost

lenses
filters
living as if reality
mirrors
windows
living as if we really see


[track] Quiet Nowhere (20180426.1)

the smarter you are today
the more you live in shadow
never giving up all you know
‘cos it’s

quiet nowhere
la la la la la la la la la
it’s quiet nowhere

to long for someday soon
is to long for days gone by
they’re both parallel paper streets
through a

quiet nowhere

the sound of things falling is the same sound
as things rising into the air
time spent afraid of what you might hear
well, that’s a quiet nowhere

that feel when the world lets you down
that feel when old friends freeze you out
when you’re seen as wrong when everyone’s not right

it’s quiet nowhere


[track] Love Your Self Any Way (20180426.1)

we were young
you were younger
never were to be in love
i should’ve known better
every price has a one

you wanted the world to burn
vanish into points of no return
‘cos hardest to learn
you never could say
love your self any way

afraid of truth
living in shadows
is no way to move through life
in the end, in this haunted future
you set yourself alight

saturation turns to gray
where there are only beautiful days

you found only
darkness in sunshine
you saw only one
way out


[sounds] Stripped State: Laurel Canyon Recordings

Cat’s costume designing the series adaptation of the podcast Homecoming, shooting in L.A., so we’re living for six months in a 1930s cottage aerie perched halfway up Laurel Canyon. When I landed, I bought a knock around Seagull guitar at the perfect scaled All-In-One guitar shop in Koreatown. Figured I’d have the Gentleman of the Canyon adventure I always dreamt, and now I’m on a trip all the way back to my own time zero, stripped down and raw, to that place where I just sat and thought and wrote and strummed. And listened. And learned.

Putting the demos up as I go, embracing every mistake as an intention…


[img] The Canyon house rental came with a boom mic stand…

The Canyon house rental came with a boom mic stand in a closet-less second bedroom, disguised as a wardrobe rack. Apologies, all overnight guests, for all your clothes with fold-creases. Hopefully, the new songs are fair trade.
April 19, 2018 at 09:51PM
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[track] Wonderland (20180418.1)

Mattie was the kinda girl
who saw the end of the world
every time she opened her eyes
Roger was the kinda guy
never turned down a ride
figured “the end of days is just down the line.”

the price you pay
counting on judgment day for love
is to waste the light away
wide awake
wishing on the dark
(in Wonderland)

they found an acre and a half
halfway up Wonderland
in September 1973
they spent a few years
thinking the end was near
and cut down none of their trees

their earth gave way on a red flag day
right around 1982
they held on fast
against a backdraft
into the black they flew

they always thought of each other
as first time lovers
in an endless secret rendezvous
but sometimes living a life of desire
leaves you dreaming of fire
in a state of always almost coming true


[img] My fav Laurel Canyon 4K loop…

My fav Laurel Canyon 4K loop elevates me to Cole Crest Dr along the ridge, 366m above LA. Today, Catalina Island came into view across Santa Monica Bay as Stereolab’s ‘Transporte Sans Bouger’ shuffled into the mix.
April 16, 2018 at 08:31PM
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[track] What’s Left Of You Is Here (live, 20180313)

I knew everything of you
in how you said your name.
On our way to points B unknown
from whatever points A.

I will never need to know
how the shadows fell across your face
In that place you used to be
Before you escaped

To California. for untold revelations, on a self-sent invitation. What’s left for you to fear
in California? Your train is the station. Your dream of vindication.
What’s left of you is here.

“Maybe I’m out here on a lie,
but it’s only a lie to the skin I shed.
What’s left of me here
is the truth.”

There’s gold inside us all
But we just pass each other by
Because you gotta wash away the dirt
To find what’s not a lie

That’s California. unknown elevations, sends no invitations. What’s left for you to fear in California? Trains are the stations. A dream of vindication.
What’s left of you is here.


[track] It (20180412.1a)

I wanna blow the doors off of everything
just because I can
I got no direction
I don’t care much for a plan
I’m gonna do it just because I can

I wanna call the world out for what it is
just because it can’t
I got a few ideas
that I know that it can’t stand
I wanna do it just because it can’t

I wanna make this life as simple as you say
just because it’s free
I got a few years left
and they’re still ahead of me
I’m gonna do it
just because


[track] Clouds Over LA (20180412.7)

time will not release
a missing puzzle piece
faded memories
don’t know what you mean

you can’t watch a sunrise
through someone else’s eyes
if they never see you
in dreams

clouds over LA dance alone between skies

distant freeways shimmer
traffic as rivers
red and white ribbons
valley to sky

lost friends reappear
in dusty windshields
as evening light hits
California 5

clouds over LA dance alone between skies

drifting the night
suspended from life
shadows of every last good bye

clouds over LA dance alone between skies


[img] Skywriting tends toward the unironic…

Skywriting tends toward the unironic, since who wants to throw a whole city into existential crisis? Today, tho, random messages of pure love written across the sky leave questions where they once made exclamations. “Measure your heart against this,” they now dare all.
April 10, 2018 at 09:23PM
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[img] Hermit Herman, pacing, on phone, hangry…

Hermit Herman, pacing, on phone, hangry. “Yeah, you heard the engineer right. 14 sends us to the bottom of the canyon. So, again, 13 pepperoni pieces. 13! Say it!” {pause} “Good. Your money’s in the mailbox. Have your guy slide the pizza extra gentle through the cones…”
April 10, 2018 at 07:51PM
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