Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Music Monday: 2 kool 2 be 4gotten

While technically not in the American Made Music Series,  Juke Joint: Photographs by Birney Imes may be the only UPM book to ever inspire a song. So I'm stretching my own rules and including it here for Music Monday.

Originally published in 1990, Juke Joint includes approximately sixty photographs taken between 1983 and 1989 as Imes traveled throughout the Mississippi Delta. Imes' now iconic photographs transforms these common gathering places in Delta cultural life into something rich and strange.
 
This famed collection of full-color photographs available once-again in a hardcover edition. But today, many of these places no longer exist. And yet these photographs continue to inspire songs, poetry, movie sets, and the interior designs of countless bars, restaurants, and live music venues striving for authenticity and that inimitable Delta Blues feeling.

Singer Lucinda Williams, who also used a photograph from the book on the cover of her album “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” says of Juke Joint, “I saw that photograph of the men standing around the pool table, and read that phrase, ‘2-Kool 2-Be 4-gotten,’ and the inspiration was obvious. Every time I sing that song I credit Birney Imes. Birney’s work is, in photography, what a good blues song is to me—gritty, edgy in all its parallels.”
 
The photograph above is the Williams references in her song with a detail of the graffiti (to the right) that inspired her song title. The song lyrics 2-Kool 2-Be 4-gotten are reproduced below and I've included a bonus photograph from the book that inspired the the song lyrics "No dope smoking no beer sold after 12 o'clock" and "House rule no exceptions / No bad language no gambling no fighting"



You can't depend on anything really
There's no promises there's no point
There's no good there's no bad
In this dirty little joint
No dope smoking no beer sold after 12 o'clock
Rosedale Mississippi Magic City Juke Joint
Mr Johnson sings over in a corner by the bar
Sold his soul to the devil so he can play guitar
Too cool to be forgotten
Hey hey too cool to be for gotten
Man running thru the grass outside
Says he wants to take up serpents
Says he will drink the deadly thing
And it will not hurt him
House rule no exceptions
No bad language no gambling no fighting
Sorry no credit don't ask
Bathroom wall reads is God the answer YES
Too cool to be forgotten
Hey hey too cool to be forgotten
June bug vs hurricane
June bug vs hurricane
Hey hey

I had a lover
I thought he was mine
Thought I'd always be his valentine
Leaning agianst the railing of a Lake Charles bridge
Overlooking the river leaning over the edge
He asked me baby would you jump into the water with me
I told him no way baby that's your own death you see
Too cool to be forgotten
Hey hey too cool to be forgotten
June bug vs hurricane
June bug vs hurricane
Hey hey


Ferry Club, Lowndes County, 1989


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