Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Alabama: Mobile

Purchase [  Let It Rock]

If you had no other American reference to go by, you could be forgiven for confusing the pronunciation of the Alabama city of Mobile. There are at least 3 forms, but one is correct. 'Course, it's not the only US city name to throw the unsuspecting, is it?

Located on I-10 (which is inherently kind of a cross-roads -as are all of US Interstate hiway cities), Mobile, like the state itself is classic Deep South, and that includes the good as well as the better known bad. Hey, the city that lays claim to the first Mardi Gras must have (had) something going for it beyond the fact that it is the state's port city (AL doesn't have much coast anyway.)

While the city is hardly bereft of music recording studios, its better known role in music is more as a source of lyric inspiration. As in Chuck Berry's Let It Rock.
It doesn't appear that Berry experienced the train gang referred to in his lyrics, but, growing up in the South, he certainly had all the background necessary to put together a valid narrative incorporating the right themes in a song. And Alabama has gone back and forth on the use of chain gangs even after a mid-90s general halt to their use.

But rather than a song about gangs, trains or the deep south for that matter, it's a rock and roll song about how life is just plain tough, a song about the blues. And it sounds a lot like Berry's most famous song, don't it?

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