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.
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.