Did you know that W.C. Handy was stuck one night in 1903 waiting on a train and heard a man singing about “goin’ where the Southern cross the Dog”? He had no idea what that meant, so he asked him as he hadn’t heard this style of music before. The musician was speaking of the tracks used by the Southern Railroad which crossed the tracks of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad, which locals called the “Yellow Dog”. The man had put it into a song and was singing the “weirdest music” Handy had ever heard…or so the story goes.
I had no idea that when I sing about everything in my life I was “singing the blues”…okay, it takes more than that, but you get my meaning. I was doing some research and discovered that Sam Cooke died on December 11, 1964 at age 33, and then, three years later on December 10, 1967, Otis Redding died in a plane crash at only 26 years old. Both of these young men were just about to make breakthroughs in the music industry at the time of their deaths. With such powerful voices imagine what they could have done with more time.
“And as I started reaching deeper I realized that most of the blues of that day was done by men. Women just didn’t have the nerve.” ~Etta James