Tag Archives: The Lovin’ Spoonful

Bad Football and a Musical Complaint

7 Nov

Lately, I have watched some bad football. The Tennessee Titans leave a lot of be desired. The season of the Tennessee Volunteers has gone from great promise to a quagmire. I am also reading a book about an infamous game in the history of Cumberland University. For those who do not know, our school lost to Georgia Tech 222-0. It is the biggest defeat in the history of college football.

Sam Hatcher, who I have known for years, wrote a book to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the game. Heisman’s First Trophy: The Game that Launched Football in the South is an interesting read that provides a great story of the game. I would recommend it to anyone. Some of it is fictionalized, but the heart of the story remains true.heisman-book

I have been surrounded by bad football, but I have also witnessed some bad halftime performances. The University of Tennessee Marching Band is known as the Pride of the Southland, and they have been performing something called the “Circle Drill” for 50 years. I know that because they announced  that this year is the 50th anniversary of the routine. Certainly, it is a difficult marching formation to perform, but I have one request.

PLAY SOME NEW SONGS!

I have been watching the “Circle Drill” for 42 of the 50 years that it has been in existence, and they have played the same songs the entire time. I can even recite the announcer’s script.

They do a musical tour of Tennessee by starting out in Memphis. That is when they play Elvis Presley’s “signature” tune “C.C. Rider.” Then, they go to Chattanooga with “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Next is a visit to Nashville with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” They end up in Knoxville with “Rocky Top,” the school’s unofficial fight song.

I understand “Rocky Top.” It fires up the crowd and needs to be played. However, it is time to spruce up the rest of the collection. Tennessee is one of the most musical places around. I know they can do better.

First, “C.C. Rider” is not the “signature” song of Elvis Presley. I guarantee that if you ask anyone to name and Elvis song that one would not be mentioned. I would choose “Hound Dog.” Here is the other thing. Elvis was not the only creator of songs in Memphis. What about doing a Tina Turner songs? Or an Isaac Hayes song? What about a Blues classic or something from Stax Records?

I know that “Chattanooga Choo Choo” is an obvious selection for Chattanooga. However, they could throw the crowd a curve with “Chattanooga City Limit Sign” by Johnny Cash. How about “Lookout Mountain” by Drive-By Truckers?

Nashville, otherwise known as Music City, is home to hundreds of artists and thousands of songs. I think they can find a new one. “Nashville Cats” by The Lovin’ Spoonful would be a great pick. Heck, they could shock the world by playing a Jimi Hendrix tune. It would work since he spent his early days in the clubs on Nashville’s Jefferson Street. I cannot even do this paragraph justice. There are so many songs to play that they could close their eyes and pick one out of a songbook.

Better yet, they could get the band from Tennessee State University to do the “Circle Drill.” I know the Aristocrat of Bands and the Sophisticated Ladies could circle it up.

Musical Journey

14 May

In a few days, we will be leaving on our annual field trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I will return with stories from the Wild West, but, until then, I will be out-of-pocket for a while.

The trip to Santa Fe is an adventurous one. Four teachers and ten students jump into a couple of vans and journey from one end of the continent to the other. It’s a long way, but the directions are easy. My town sits on Interstate 40. That means we stay on one road through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and part of New Mexico. Like Bugs Bunny, we take a right at Albuquerque.

Or maybe it was left.

Or maybe it was left.

The stretch of Interstate 40 between Nashville and Memphis has been dubbed the “Music Highway”, but the entire road to pretty musical. It seems that a lot of the places we pass have songs written about them.

Nashville has a bunch of songs written about it, but one of my favorites is “Nashville Cats” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.

Not long after Nashville, we go through Jackson. Now, I don’t know if June and Johnny Cash were singing about the Jackson in Tennessee or the Jackson in Mississippi. However, this is my blog, so it’s going to be Tennessee.

Next, we go through Memphis, a city of Blues and Rock n’ Roll. Like Nashville, there are a lot of songs about Memphis, but one of the best was by Johnny Rivers.

I guess Little Rock has some songs about it, but we don’t really go through that town. This means that Oklahoma is the next musical place we hit. Obviously, there is a musical about this state, but Three Dog Night recorded my favorite Oklahoma song. It’s a weird tune that talks about Spain and the Beatles.

We stop in Oklahoma City, but I can’t think of a good Oklahoma City song. However, Carrie Underwood has a song about her hometown of Checotah.

From Oklahoma, we venture into the panhandle of Texas. There’s not much in the panhandle of Texas but the city of Amarillo. George Strait has a great song about Amarillo.

That’s about it for Texas, but there is one more song. When we get close to Albuquerque, I always think about a song that is about a guy driving on Interstate 40. However, he is traveling the opposite direction. Instead of going west, he is going east through all of the towns that we have passed. He is leaving a bad woman, and “by the time I make Albuquerque she’ll be workin’“.

So, that’s the musical journey I will be making this week.