the power of song - jun 21st, 2014

Every so often the music gods bestow upon us avid listeners a song that, once we hear it, we can’t seem to shake. It’s generally got some magic signature groove that works its way under our skin, with a listen or two, penetrating our pleasure system and opening up in our head like a giant bloom – BOOM! Once there, it takes control: we sway, we nod, we rock, locked up in the rhythm. Forget about trying to get it out of our head, it leaves when it wants to.
There’s a long history of these magical musical wonders, many of whom have their roots in mythical places like Muscle Shoals, Memphis, Motown, and Philly. You know what I’m talking about, just mentioning their titles is liable to get you going:
Wilson Pickett’s Mustang Sally,
the Temptations’ Ain’t too Proud To Beg,
David Ruffin’s Walk Away From Love,
Aretha’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T,
Steely Dan’s Hey 19,
Sam & Dave’s Hold On I’m Comin’,
right up to Pharrell’s Happy.
The one that has been tormenting my aural pleasure zone for the past few weeks is a somewhat obscure Tony Joe White number called Polk Salad Annie. I wake up at all hours of the night with the crazy lyrics rumbling thru my cortex
“Her daddy was lazy and no count, claimed he had a bad back. and all her brothers were good for was stealin’ watermelons out of my truck patch”
As Roy Orbison would say (if he were still around), “Mercy!”