Talk on, talkers. Mind your own business. Clean up your own back yard. Etc.
Here’s the playlist for this morning’s edition of The Lost Child. If you missed the broadcast, you can hear the whole thing here.
- The Golden Crown Quartet: Scandalize My Name
- Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: Bad Reputation
- Jimmy Hughes: Neighbor, Neighbor
- Earl Johnson and his Dixie Entertainers: Ain’t Nobody’s Business
- Mississippi John Hurt: Nobody’s Dirty Business
- Frank Stokes: ‘Tain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do Part 2
- Fats Waller and his Rhythm: ‘Tain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do
- Ray Charles: Sticks and Stones
- A. W. Nix: Throwing Stones
- The Staple Singers: Be Careful of the Stones That You Throw
- Elder Charles Beck: Talk On Talkers
- Bishop Manning and the Manning Family (Lead, Marie Manning): Talk About Me
- Hank Williams: Mind Your Own Business
- A. W. Nix: Mind Your Own Business
- Elvis Presley: Clean Up Your Own Backyard
- Jeannie C. Riley: Harper Valley PTA
- Cal Smith: The Lord Knows I’m Drinking
- Ike and Tina Turner: Ain’t Nobody’s Business
- Jerry McCain: Somebody’s Been Talking
- Mitty Collier: Let Them Talk
This is really a kind of reboot of a very early Lost Child show. The original, Episode 16, aired in the summer of 2012, three hundred and twenty-nine episodes ago, when Birmingham Mountain Radio was still a little, online-only operation; so I figured you probably missed the original, or at least have forgotten it, and I’ve updated the old playlist with some new songs. A few of my favorite recordings are in this mix. Some of the highlights:
1. I’ll never forget the first time I heard Earl Johnson and his Dixie Entertainers’ 1927 recording of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.” I was a sophomore in college, and I’d never heard anything like this — it seemed like it exploded what I thought a song could be. First there was the wild and screeching Georgia fiddle, then the wild and screeching Georgia vocals. And I’d never heard lyrics like these on a record from so long ago:
“Morphine’s a-gonna run be crazy, cocaine’s a-gonna kill my baby, the pretty girls are gonna cause me to lose my mind. It’s nobody’s business, nobody’s business, nobody’s business if I do.”
Then, a few verses later, this masterpiece of surreal imagery, all from the imaginations of a decade-and-decades-old, rural Georgia string band:
“She runs a weenie stand, way down in no-man’s land, nobody’s business if I do.”
That line alone has a lot to do, I think, with the person I am now, twenty years later. I heard those words and played them over and over and wondered what else might be out there.
2. The last hundred-ish years of American music have produced numerous variations on the “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” theme, though none quite as weird as Earl Johnson’s. Today’s radio show includes a few of the others, but doesn’t even get to Bessie Smith’s (1924) or Billie Holiday’s (1949). (Warning: Smith’s and Holiday’s are outstanding performances, but are marked by some uncomfortable, regrettable lyrics.)
3. Also on today’s show: Elvis Presley, “Clean Up Your Own Backyard.” This scene from 1969’s The Trouble With Girls is surely one of the greatest, coolest things to come out of an Elvis movie:
4. Finally, today’s show ends with a bang: my friend Patrick introduced me, just a few years ago, to this incredible performance from Birmingham native Mitty Collier. What she does with just two minutes and forty-two seconds is pretty extraordinary. Today, Mitty Collier is a pastor in Chicago.
Thanks for listening. See you next time. Be careful of the stones that you throw.
P. S. I’m working on a book and could use your help on the pitch. Check out this synopsis and let me know what you think.
P.S., also. Yesterday was International Women’s Day. Here are a few of my favorite woman-centric episodes of The Lost Child, which you can revisit this weekend: Mighty Soul Women, Parts One and Two, and the country sequel, Badass Country Women. And a few tributes from this blog to some extraordinary women in history: Montgomery’s librarian-activist Juliette Hampton Morgan, and Birmingham educator-singer Ethel Harper (Parts One and Two).