ROLLIN‘ INTO MEMPHIS, FLOATIN‘ INTO NEW ORLEANS
I caught a train to Memphis and rolled in on a Saturday night.
I shot right down to Beale Street and played a bluesy delight.
The harper wailed a chorus out and I hollered out his name.
We were jumpy and funky and set the public aflame.
Jackin’ in the real jive playin’ music so alive
I jammed until the birds sang and walked on down to Mud Isle
I kissed the Mississippi, the river so long and wide
She swims along with music from Minnesota to New Orleans
Always in motion inspiring all the gypsy queens
Buzzin’ like a bee hive, groovin’ upward so classified.
Jelly Roll and Doctor John have tinkled the ivories
spanning a century with golden strains
of R & B with an unspoken quote of Mark Twain.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
Dynamic and tasty their music became rife
to rattle the rafters earthy and sublime.
Then came Lee Dorsey on the scene
singin’ his licks with each refrain
with Toussaint as his perfect rhyme.
Back when the cakewalk became jazz
with its patterns and razzmatazz
we had Satchmo and King Oliver Jo
blowing out their proverbial soul.
Simply exhibiting what they chose.
Then bringin’ out the Ragtime
mixin’ it with blues the Preservation Band
seeded the garden of the Rebirth.
Ev’rybody was swingin’ in Louisian’
overflowin’ with joy and mirth.
So satisfied and mystified
We’re singin’ out our gospel
and all our spirits are doin’ fine
Happ’nin’ steppin’ and clappin’
never down ‘bout the weather.
Always hangin’ out and slappin’
raisin’ cane till Mardi Gras together.
The two cities are the backbone of blues
combined with two-step and Zydeco
with a taste of French and Caribique
This southern mix is dynamo.
Meetin’ Memphis Slim in Paris too
with a blues so deep and mellow.
Then later Marc Cohn turn the trick
sanctifyin’ the city so sweet
dedicated to the magic street.
Emerging were artists galore
captured by life so chique.
From George Coleman to Henry Butler
and don’t forget Mister Junior Wells.
The list is endless and an utter
wonder of superb talent to handpick
through in one’s pause and leisure.
Guaranteed is absolute pleasure
where each melody does foretell
a magnificent charm and hidden mystic.
The blending of Jazz and Blues
was the secret to make hearts flutter.
Ferdinand with his “Shoe Shine Drag”
did stride the blues with a stylistic
approach mastering a futuristic
jumpin’ jack with his passage of rag.
The Afro-European music was born
although many creators forlorn
gave their hours writing tunes
to give hope to the worn and torn.
This gift is clothed in tingling magic
beneath an orange Delta moon.
I came to Earth not to forget this and bring it further into the light.
Helping the human race to find its miracles so glorious and out of sight.
Pickin’ a banjo, blowin’ a harp and twangin’ a string to claim
Congo Square at Louis’ Park will be a monument always to remain.
Meeting at the Twelve Bar with twelve measures and a phrase
even later from the heavens long after my living days.