Talk on, talkers. Mind your own business. Clean up your own back yard. Etc.
- 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).