Sunday, October 19, 2014

Young Sinclairs -- "Remember This Song" (2008)


Bright lights, big city
Went to your head

Joplin, Missouri -- where I grew up, and where my parents still live -- isn't a very big city.  Its lights are not so bright that they will go to your head . . . unless you are from a really small town like Carterville or Duenweg or Seneca or Oronogo.

Joplin's donuts are a different story.  I don't care if you're from Kansas City or Chicago or Los Angeles or even New York City -- Dude's Daylight Donuts will still go to your head.

Every time I go to Joplin to visit my parents, getting a maple bar at Dude's Daylight Donuts is high of my list of priorities.

Dude's: open for business
Usually my mother gets up at the crack of dawn and drives to Dude's to get a couple of fresh maple bars for me to enjoy when I wake up hours later.

But my mother fell and suffered a gruesome compound fracture of her ankle just before my most recent stopover in Joplin, so I had to get my own donuts.

No worries -- I hiked to Dude's from my parents' house, which Mapquest says is a 2.18-mile walk.  When I got to Dude's, I discovered that they sold not only maple bars (which are rectangular donuts covered with maple icing) but chocolate bars as well.

I take a back seat to no one when it comes to my love for chocolate, but Dude's maple bar was far superior to its chocolate bar.  

A couple of maple bars and a Dr. Pepper makes an outstanding breakfast.


My walk to Dude's and back took me along the path of the tornado that devastated Joplin on May 22, 2011, killing 161 people and demolishing hundreds of buildings.

The lines of demarcation between the blocks where there was relatively little damage from the tornado and the blocks where every building was wiped out are often surprisingly sharp.

If you stand at the intersection of 22nd and Florida, for example, you'll see that the block to the south lost no houses to the tornado.  But none of the houses in the block to the north of that intersection survived -- every house you see is brand new.

Watch this video to see what I mean:


The same is true at 22nd and Alabama -- just two blocks north of my parents' home.  Only a few of the houses on Alabama just south of that intersection were seriously damaged.  But of the 22 houses that once stood on Alabama between 22nd and 20th streets, only one survived.  Of the 21 that were leveled, only about half about been replaced with new homes.

There are still many striking reminders of the tornado in Joplin.  For example, here are some steps that used to lead to the front door of a house:


Here's another "stairway to nowhere" -- apologies to Led Zeppelin.  (Actually, it's Led Zeppelin that owes us an apology for that song.)


Just outside of the tornado zone is Parr Hill Park, which is home to this "Peace Pole."  It states "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Cherokee.

Peace Pole
Apparently there are a lot of peaceniks in Joplin these days.  My father's doctor seems to be one of them:

(Ever hear of the Second Amendment, doc?)
Thankfully, some of the folks who live in the Joplin area are still outspoken conservatives.  On the highway between Joplin and Kansas City, you'll see an old truck trailer that now functions as a billboard:

(Tell it like it is, my brother!)
Back to Parr Hill Park, which also is home to a dog park.  The sign in the picture below replicates the outline of the fenced area at the dog park -- it's shaped like a bone with a gate in the middle to separate the large-breed area from the small-breed area:


A few blocks away from the park is Big R's Bar-B-Q restaurant, which boasts that "We Have the Meat You Can't Beat."

The restaurant is obviously very proud of that rather tasteless slogan, which appears on the restaurant's signage not once:


Not twice:


But three times:


After I've explored the tornado zone, I usually head for the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center and walk the three-mile loop trail along Shoal Creek.

On one of the approaches to the trail is a house whose owner has his very own firetruck:


Think of the babes you could bag if you had your very own firetruck!

At the north end of the trail loop, you cross Shoal Creek on this low-water bridge:


That bridge gives the heebie-jeebies to a number of my old Joplin friends (all of them female, by the way -- just sayin') even though Shoal Creek is only a couple of feet deep there.   

At the opposite end of the loop, you cross back over the creek on the old Redings Mill highway bridge, which is now open to pedestrians only:


One of the highlights along the trail is Wildcat Glade, one of the few remaining chert glades in the world.  We'll take a closer look at Wildcat Glade in the next 2 or 3 lines

If the lyrics quoted at the beginning of this post sound familiar to you, there's a good reason for that.


In 1961, blues giant Jimmy Reed recorded "Bright Lights, Big City," a traditional 12-bar blues song that became one of his biggest hits.  It begins with these lines:

Bright lights, big city
Gone to my baby's head

Country music singer Sonny James ("The Southern Gentleman") covered "Bright Lights, Big City," in 1971.  His version went to #1 on the country charts, becoming his 15th consecutive #1 single.  

The Animals, Bob Dylan, Johnny Winter, Neil Young, Van Morrison and Them, and Half Japanese are among the other performers to record covered of "Bright Lights, Big City."  (You've never heard of Half Japanese?  Watch this space . . .)


I'm not sure whether Jimmy Reed's original or one of those covers inspired "Remember This Song," which is one of my favorite Young Sinclairs songs.

The Young Sinclairs are a psychedelic/jangle-pop group that formed almost a decade ago in Roanoke, Virginia.  2 or 3 lines will be featuring more of their songs in the future.

Click on the arrow below to listen to "Remember This Song":


Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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