ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969
This is Chapter 17 (day 31):
Written by James Brown and Alfred “PeeWee” Ellis
Performed by James Brown and the James Brown Orchestra
Recorded at King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1967
Drummer: Clyde Stubblefield
“A night drive through the North Alabama mountains is inadvisable.” Molly used a flashlight to read the warning in An Adventurer’s Guide to Travel across America.
“They’re just hills,” said Norman, although he was already white-knuckling the steering wheel in the dark.
An unfortunate encounter awaits them in Alabama (talk about a cold sweat), along with a very fortunate (for them) new character showing up, the first of many to ride in the bus with Norman and Molly.
Norman’s newly-installed radio keeps him company into the night, as this chapter flirts with the “race records” that Duane Allman listened to on Nashville’s WLAC 1530AM, “the Nighttime Station for Half the Nation” as disc jockey John R. sells chickens, Bibles, hair pomade, and everything in between while he plays Sonny Boy Williamson, Aretha, and Muddy Waters, all of whom are mentioned in this chapter, as well as B.B. King’s “Lucille,” Louis Jordan’s “Caldonia,” and Sister Rosetta Tharp’s “Didn’t it Rain?”
But when “Cold Sweat” comes on the radio, Norman has to pull over. He’s never heard anything like it.
“It was the beat, he told himself. What was that beat? He tried to tap it out on the steering wheel. The drummer was hitting the snare on the two and four, but missing that fourth beat by an eighth note and playing between the beats — or was it instead of the beat?”
All very thrilling for a budding drummer who is on his way to the heart of the South’s musical beats, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He just has to survive his stop for gas in Anniston in the middle of the night.