The Banning of “Dixie,” & the Birth of “An American Trilogy”
The recent flap over the Confederate flag continues to reach into other sectors of culture unrelated to the issues of the flag being displayed on public property or its potential use as a symbol of racism. From Apple banning certain Civil War games (though some have been reinstated), to fear of the banning of Gone With The Wind, to TV Land now canceling reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard, hysteria has set in, and it looks to undermine elements of Southern culture that otherwise are innocuous, and in some instances, historically significant.
But this is not the first time hysteria has jeopardized Southern institutions. In the late 60’s, the song “Dixie” was strongly-identified with slavery and other unsavory elements of the Confederate cause. A robust effort to ban the song was undertaken, and it was generally rebuked in many sectors of American culture. But one relatively unknown, but well-respected songwriter and country music artist named Mickey Newbury decided to take a stand and prove the beauty of the song beyond whatever historical connotations, and soon a love for “Dixie” and an appreciation for the song was reinstated.
The main vehicle for the renewed understanding and appreciation for “Dixie” was a medley called “An American Trilogy” that became a standard of Elvis Presley’s live show for many years. But it started with the songwriter—Mickey Newbury, and one fateful evening in Hollywood where Newbury was asked to perform for a distinguished crowd that included Kris Kristofferson, Barbara Streisand, Mama Cass, Joan Baez, and most notably, singer and civil rights activist Odetta.
The moment, chronicled below by Chris Campion in the liner notes of Mickey Newbury’s An American Trilogy compilation album exemplifies how sometimes what seems to be a polarizing element of culture can actually breed understanding and compassion for one another through the healing virtues of artistic expression.
by Chris Campion
He stared deep into the past with a gaze haunted and pained, conjuring the sorrow of an age through a melody as familiar and urgent as a bugle call and a voice soaring, gentle and true. A voice that seemed so much larger than the body it inhabited.
“Look away, look away…”
But then, everything about Mickey Newbury seemed unassuming. From the compact, wiry frame that looked so fragile yet imparted a formidable power when hunched and taut over his Ramirez guitar. To his conservative mode of dress—shirt buttoned almost the the neck, collar starched, jeans pressed, boots shined—and the way he wore his hair—neatly-cut, combed, parted. Even his smile seemed shy at full beam. Everything, that is, except his voice and the way he took anyone who heard it on a journey.
And that’s certainly how it must have seemed to the great and good of Hollywood who had gathered on Thanksgiving weekend 1970 to see and hear this modest fellow from the Lone Star State make his West Coast debut and were stunned into silence as they witnessed Mickey Newbury give the performance of his life.
It seemed as if the song was not just coming from inside him but as if he was outside himself and inside the song. The sound pushed out in waves. Calming, resolute, cleansing. The atmosphere in the club seemed to be frozen in slow motion, moving with the illusion of stillness. The entire audience rapt in the moment, as if trapped in amber, attention fixed upon the solitary figure on stage illuminated by a soft curtain of light, with just his guitar for accompaniment. And that illusion was broken only by a tear that rolled down the cheek of a great gospel singer sitting out in the audience.
“Look away, look away. Look away, Dixieland…”
There was no indication at all that this same song had recently ripped through the country like a hurricane, creating so much turbulence in its wake that it’s performance had been outlawed in state after state; a song considered an affront to the advances of the 60’s civil rights movement and so divisive and inflammatory that when Mickey announced his intention to play it in the dressing room just before he was to take the stage club owner Paul Colby went white with fear.
“Mickey, you can’t do that,” Colby protested. “They’ll tear this club apart.” Colby’s new venture, Bitter End West, a Los Angeles branch of his venerable New York folk club, had not been open a week and Mickey had been granted the privilege of playing its opening weekend.
“Well, get a shovel,” came Mickey’s reply, “cos I’m fixing to do it.”
Rather than introduce “Dixie” by name, Mickey preceded his performance with a short overture that he knew would play well to the audience of liberal Californians, industry folk and fellow artists.
“Just this last week,” he began, “there was a song banned. I just can not understand why people think a song can be damaging. Anybody that loves truth and loves music would have no argument with ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ regardless of what Bob Dylan’s politics or personality was like.”
There were whoops of agreement. Mickey continued on, talking about the dangers and injustice of banning free speech, then he started into the song.
Almost as soon as he began playing, a woman at the back of the club got up from her seat and started clapping in march time, then quickly stopped realizing that she was making a fool of herself, because Mickey wasn’t playing “Dixie” in march time. He had instead slowed the song all the way down and pitched it as a ballad—quiet, insistent, weighted—an idea he had gotten from hearing Barbara Streisand’s “Happy Days Are Here Again” that invested the song with a pathos perfectly matched to its lyric.
Streisand was, as it happened, in the club that night with her latest conquest, a hot up-and-coming singer-songwriter called Kris Kristofferson, and was imploring him to move on with her to another venue. But Kris Kristofferson would not budge. He had come to see a friend whom he credited, in large part, with helping to kick-start his career as well as being a huge influence on his own songwriting. Joan Baez, another friend of Mickey’s, also watched that night. And sitting front and centre on the club’s wooden church pew seating, sandwiched between Mama Cass and Odetta, Mickey’s 23-year-old wife, Susan.
“I didn’t know if Odetta was gonna be offended,” Susan recalls, of the moment Mickey started into “Dixie.” “I didn’t know what to think. I just held my breath and so did everybody else.”
“There was an energy in the room,” said Mickey. “I felt the whole audience being pushed away from me. I could feel this energy, just like a wave of wind. Just pushing them back to the back wall. And I just kept singing.”
From the stage, he could see Odetta’s eyes glisten as they welled up, her face shine as the emotion stained her cheek. He was so torn up seeing this influential figure moved to tears right there in front of him that he could not bring himself to stop and be forced to take stock; instead, he segued instinctively into the refrain of another song entirely, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”—a song that was to the North as “Dixie” was the the South and into which he ploughed all his distress:
“Glory, glory hallelujah…”
And even then it didn’t seem appropriate to finish, so he shifted into “All My Trials,” a Bahamian lullaby turned plantation spiritual that Mickey later confessed to have heard on only two prior occasions. But it fit so well, forming a breach and symbolizing a quiet revolution to the other two songs, charged as they were by their association with Civil War conflict.
“When he got done,” says Susan, ‘you could have heard a pin drop in that club. There was not a sound.” The silence was a chasm. Then Mama Cass broke it by jumping up from her seat to clap and yell her approval. And, at her lead, the entire place erupted with an applause that seemed to last forever.
“They stood and screamed and hollered like you would not believe,” Mickey would later recall. “It was the most electrifying performance of my life.”
“Mickey would destroy a room of people,” maintained Kris Kristofferson.
All the violence, all the rage, all the controversy that “Dixie” had inspired seemed to be swallowed up by the majesty of his performance. And, on stage that night, “An American Trilogy” was born.
“An American Trilogy” originally appeared on the Mickey Newbury album ‘Frisco Mabel Joy from 1971.
“Dixie” originated in blackface minstrel shows of the 1850’s, and was adopted as the song of the Confederacy during The Civil War. The day after Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S.Grant at Appomattox President Lincoln came out on the streets of Washington DC to address a throng of people gathered to celebrate the news and requested the band play “Dixie” before they played “Yankee Doodle.” “I have always thought `Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard,” Lincoln said.
July 2, 2015 @ 5:56 pm
Folks, I’m serious. Let’s keep comment on the topic of music, and not on incessant back and forth arguments on the Confederate flag. That issue will not be solved here, and comments that do not respect that request are subject to being deleted or edited.
July 3, 2015 @ 12:41 pm
I appreciate you doing an article on Newbury, Trigger. I wish the comments section could’ve been about him too.
June 13, 2016 @ 6:10 am
Trigger I admire all the dedication you put towards your site I turn it on to everyone. I am southern I love Dixie I hated what the south was fighting about but kids lost dad’s wives lost husband’s and that song wasn’t about racism it was about the souths lost ones. No one knows how it was then. Dixie song is history period why erase history
July 2, 2015 @ 6:59 pm
Any chance to talk about Mickey Newbury is worth whatever it took to get there.
July 3, 2015 @ 12:26 pm
Amen to that, Matt.
July 2, 2015 @ 7:30 pm
Newbury turns the song into a lament, entirely appropriate in an historical context.
Matthew Grimm used lines from “Dixie” to great effect in his song “Honea Path” about the textile workers strike in 1934.
July 2, 2015 @ 7:44 pm
Stone Mountain here in Atlanta is officially a memorial to those who fought and died, primarily for the South,, and the last time I attended one of the summer fireworks shows they put on nightly, this, (okay, Elvis’s) is the only version of Dixie played during the show, and, as Ms. “2” above says, it’s the fitting lament for a memorial in the midst of the other, more boosteristic “Proud to Be An American”/Georgia On My Mind/Devil Went Down To Georgia” soundtrack played behind the fireworks and laser show…
The carving gets “laser-animated” during the Trilogy, and Lee eventually breaks his sword across his knee~ maybe a bit schlocky and touristy-patriotic, but I s’pose appropriate given the song’s pacing and the park’s intended purpose.
July 2, 2015 @ 8:15 pm
I believe Dixie was written by a man from Ohio. Also, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was written by a songwriter who hadn’t seen a baseball game yet in his life.
July 3, 2015 @ 4:31 am
Thanks much for posting this. Waylon Jennings’ recording of Newbury’s “San Francisco Mabel Joy” has long been one my favorite story songs. It’s nice to learn more about him…what a beautiful voice!
July 3, 2015 @ 4:48 am
Doug, I couldn’t agree more. I have always liked that song and Waylon does a great job with it. I also like Waylon’s cover of “Love of the Common People.”
July 4, 2015 @ 11:06 pm
And Damon Runyan–who wrote the stories about Broadway behind “Guys and Dolls” was from Manhattan.
July 3, 2015 @ 5:34 am
Great post Trig! I actually did not know this and I don’t think Mickey could have had a better person make the song famous than Elvis, a man who you could see the emotion in every lyric he sang.
July 4, 2019 @ 11:31 am
Learned so much from this article appropriately on the fourth of July. Thank you and the comments were interesting and fun to read
July 3, 2015 @ 7:54 am
Wow Trigger, your analysis of this song is pure poetry. White southerners appear to have romanticized the history of the south. We have Paula Dean daydreaming of a lavish plantation dinner with black waiter and waitresses dressing up like slaves. It didn’t even occurred to her that what she was about to say would devastate her career. Historically, white southerners, in their heart’s of hearts doesn’t appear to see anything wrong with their history. They do not see the atrocities committed against black people in their history as an injustice. Historically, the Civil War was one of the bloodiest war the world had ever seen. Yet southernern culture seems to have romanticized it. Throughout the south, there are reenactment camps of certain battle scene of the CW True these exist in the northeast also, but at an insignificant number, meaning, no more than one would expect from military and history fantastics. The Germans hold their heads in shame when Nazism is mentioned. Whites from the south appear to be waiting for the south to rise again. This is true even though they know the only real power the south possessed, stemmed from the demoralization of an entire race of people.
July 3, 2015 @ 8:04 am
You know this type of comment is going to stir something up more than likely. You have directly criticized a demographic of people and barely made mention of Mickey and the point of this post. You can say whatever you like, however this forum is created for musical purposes and not so much as a history lesson forum. Why even stir this up, because you are basically calling southerners ignorant with this post.
July 3, 2015 @ 8:18 am
I will not be party to further discussion on this. I said what I have to say and I am done. However, do you really expect me to be moved by this song, or any story behind it’s creation? Pleeeeese, come on now. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!!
July 3, 2015 @ 9:06 am
I said what I have to say and I am done.
Yeah, we’ll see about that.
July 3, 2015 @ 9:11 am
July 3, 2015 @ 8:17 am
Thanks for using my story about bridging political and racial differences to expound on your one-sided ideology that is completely irrelevant to the current topic.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 3, 2015 @ 11:03 am
Civil War re-enactments don’t occur in the North because barely any battles were fought in the North. It never reached higher than Pennsylvania.
We do have Revolutionary War reenactments in the North, though, because battles were fought there.
Don’t be silly.
Anyway, listen to the song. It’s gorgeous and is actually an example of “Heritage not Hate,” and is what those idiots waving their symbols of treason in the name of racism around should be fighting for.
July 3, 2015 @ 11:17 am
I am not going to listen to that stupid song, nor am I going to allow Trigger to tug at my heart strings, with this somewhat polished over story. Let’s all hold hands and listen to this song, then maybe we can forget about the real environment that gave birth to the racist pig who killed 8 innocent people.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 3, 2015 @ 11:22 am
If you listened to the song, you’d understand that you’re making an ass of yourself over nothing, and are playing into the picture those assholes who would fly swastikas if their great-granddaddy had fought under Himmler are trying to paint of people who don’t think governments should fly symbols that only ever existed to defend the disenfranchisement of their constituents.
July 3, 2015 @ 11:31 am
I was unmoved by that song.
July 3, 2015 @ 6:41 pm
Oh trust me, he isn’t making an ass of himself. It’s already been done.
June 13, 2016 @ 6:07 am
If you want to blame a peice of history that was bad for the south and north because kids had no dad’s coming home women no husband’s all this song was about was the sadness of a war that made the United states who were are today. Bad and good no matter without the passed sacrifice of all men in that war we don’t know where we would be today. Shame on you for putti ng down trig for sharing a peice of history. Like he said the surrender of Robert e Lee got lincoln up and requested to have Dixie played for all. But I respect your views. I just have strong southern background I didn’t agree with what the south was about but no one in this Era can relate to what it was like then.
July 3, 2015 @ 12:34 pm
I agree with almost everything you said, but as a current New Englander I have to defend my adopted region’s right to claim the northernmost battlefield in the Civil War:
Cool Lester Smooth
July 3, 2015 @ 1:06 pm
Hah! I’m ashamed I didn’t know that!
One of my ancestors was a (brevet) general from Vermont.
July 3, 2015 @ 8:31 am
Racism is not a southern thing nor an American thing, it’s nothing new to the human race. But I think TV Land dropping reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard has pretty much eradicated racism. The 3 most segregated cities are in the North. There have been a lot of senseless killing of black people by the police, Travion Martin and the problems in Chicago which our government doesn’t seem to give a shit about. These injustices aren’t happening under a rebel flag.
July 3, 2015 @ 8:45 am
Bravo post Mr. Jackson, cheers
July 3, 2015 @ 9:08 am
Some comments here were deleted for being too off-topic. Let’s please keep comments respectful to one another and to the current discussion, or they will be deleted. Thank you.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 3, 2015 @ 11:08 am
Good point. Ceasing to fly that disgusting symbol of hatred on public land is just a start; we have a lot of work ahead of us in terms of assuring all people of all genders, orientations, creeds and races equal civil, political, social and economic rights.
That’s why music like An American Trilogy is so valuable.
August 19, 2019 @ 9:19 pm
That flag that you hate so much, because it flew over slavery, is no different than the Stars and Stripes, that ALSO FLEW over slavery. Grant owned slaves and there were free blacks that owned other blacks as slaves. As for being traitors…exactly what were our founding fathers to the British Crown? Traitors. The only difference between the North and South, was the North won its war, and the South didn’t. Lincoln took back the South and wanted the wounds to heal…and they healed until people decided to dig up the past and start the blame game all over again. I am a Southerner born who served joyfully under the Stars and Stripes. Let’s stop the hate and move on.
July 3, 2015 @ 8:34 am
Uh? Trigger, it turns out, not even you can rewrite history.
March 20, 2021 @ 7:04 am
Always loved the song. I like many many others are not for tearing down statues to appease other people while taking away someone else’s rights. Get your feelings off your sleeves, history acknowledged doesn’t ,typically repeat itself but if you tear it down or remove form sight then the likelyhood of repeating will probably in rease 10 fold. Equality is about choices we make as individuals not something I dictate for you or the government tries to makes law.
July 3, 2015 @ 9:06 am
Ooops, you forgot the defense attorney’s part. Or would that be just too ironic.
July 3, 2015 @ 9:13 am
July 3, 2015 @ 9:58 am
Great article, Mr. Triggerman, says this fmr music scribe/editor; ought to be in the Oxford American’s southern issue or better still Mojo. Having just come off the Red Road from the Upper South while having my Pamunkey Nation of Virginia recognized by the Feds, the weight of southern history & I must admit “Dixie” kept playing through my mind all week down South to the pt am doing an Alabama Suite in Newbury style @ my show tonight in Brooklyn @ Branded Saloon: Neil Young, Ronnie VanZ, originals. Yes, there’s lore that a black family of prewar string band masters originating from Eastern Shore M’urland – the Snowdens – wrote “Dixie”, particularly the matriarch. Anyroad, what I would give to have attended this Mickey Newbury west debut in such august company as Queen Odetta (w/ my hero Kris Kristofferson as my date!) #KandiaCrazyHorseCountry
PS: real testy about this yanking of Dukes of Hazzard, a key part of MY southern heritage*
July 3, 2015 @ 10:32 am
I take issue with Campion’s claim (or Newbury’s claim) that “Dixie” was ever banned by a state or any other governmental entity. In researching the song, I can only find a reference to the president of the University of Miami decreeing in 1968 that the marching band no longer play the song. If there’s any evidence that a legislative or governmental body voted to ban the song, I sure as heck can’t find it.
This is America. We do lots of things, but we don’t ban songs.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 3, 2015 @ 11:17 am
Yup, and the only “hysteria” I’ve been seeing is “Well, if governments can’t fly the flag on public land anymore, what else will they stop us from doing?!!!!!”
Private entities deciding to disassociate themselves from symbols of hatred, whether actual or, in the case of “Dixie,” perceived, is something else entirely.
July 3, 2015 @ 10:48 am
Wow, thanks for providing this illustrated history! I was aware of the general origin of “Dixie”, but it always sounds better when you actually have characters and dialogue to fully paint a picture in your head and appreciate the whole of history! =)
The banter is always what has stood out to me, above all else, when listening to this. At the core of this song is a pang of homesickness that gives it some emotional weight, but then it’s coupled by some quirky couplets including “Dar”™s buckwheat cakes an”™ Injun batter, makes you fat or a little fatter…” And there are a few other similes that are just awesome including “His face was sharp as a butcher”™s cleaver.”
That’s what I miss, most of all, in songwriting today…………..and why I feel the depleted vocabulary bank in songs of all genres also has a direct correlation with the decline in narrative. I think, above all else, “Dixie” deserves to be culturally preserved because it serves as a reminder to how one can speak with such an individual flair while still have broad cultural appeal because of both the hilarious banter and emotional heart in which the material is being delivered.
I couldn’t help but notice “All My Trials” isn’t being covered quite as often among either mainstream or independent singer/songwriters today. That’s a shame. The religious references might be a little much to some, but I’m no church-goer and I personally have always found them inclusive (not to mention “tree of life” can double as a more secular spiritual symbol). We’re overdue for a few generational covers of it.
July 3, 2015 @ 4:23 pm
Yeah, blah, blah, blah. I don’t have anything against that stupid song. Nor do I give a rat’s butt about that stupid flag. Hank3’s got that stupid flag all over his work and I still listen to him more than I do any other artist. I don’t like Hank because of that stupid flag, I like him despite that stupid flag.
Trigger believes he is writing something moumental here. Of course Abraham Lincoln accepted REL surrender with about as much grace as could be expected. Robert E. Lee fought to the bitter end. I suppose if he was some king fighting against a conquest, then I could appreciate the romantization that has evolved over the years about him, the flg and the song. That war was about owning slaves. Trigger, know your audience. This kid just killed 8 innocent people while sporting Old Dixie. What the hell? Am suppose to get all choked up about this song. Nope, that’s strictly a southern white thing. You know, trivializing any other life but a white one. Thos stupid story doesn’t mean diddly squat to me. I foresee being pist for a while
July 3, 2015 @ 4:53 pm
I don”™t have anything against that stupid song. Nor do I give a rat”™s butt about that stupid flag.
All of your unsolicited, semi-coherent ranting indicates otherwise. We get it. You hate the song and the flag. You can shut the hell up about it now.
July 3, 2015 @ 6:59 pm
I didn’t get the impression that Trigger thought he was writing something groundbreaking. I believe he wrote this as a means of saying “Here’s a little slice of musical history I think you’ll find interesting, at the least!”
I was emphatic in the Southern culture/history discussion of my belief the battle flag (all versions) must be removed from all public buildings and relegated to the archives because I’m in agreement with you of having way too much prejudiced contextual baggage. There’s no need to revisit that again seeing that the focus is on the music here, but you’re welcome to go back and read my commentary in that discussion if you’d prefer.
In contrast, I think it would be a mistake to try and relegate “Dixie” to the archives as well; in that I don’t view it having the same baggage.
July 4, 2015 @ 5:36 am
Noah, just some thoughts and you may well be the most reasonable person to have a discussion with compared to other persons on this comment section.
I’m told every day, it seems, that if I don’t like something, change the station. I don’t like rap in my country? change the station. I don’t like “Party Down South?” Change the station. I’m not too invested in whether or not the flag flies, I still wish to see it in day to day life though, but they suspended “Dukes of Hazzard.” Why can’t someone else change the station if they don’t like it for a change? Isn’t it the same issue? If you don’t like it change the station?
Cool Lester Smooth
July 4, 2015 @ 6:23 am
No one made TV Land pull the Dukes of Hazzard. They just didn’t want to be associated with a symbol that represents treason and/or racism to the vast majority of their viewers.
You can watch those Duke boys on DVD, and you and your neighbors can fly the flag on your own land, but the recent retrenchment of the CBF commercially is actually one of the only examples I’ve ever seen of the free market pushing through social reform.
July 4, 2015 @ 6:40 am
July 4, 2015 @ 7:08 am
Cool Lester: Alright, you didn’t really answer my question, but you make some very good points. I never found the flag to be racist, (I’m from Michigan.) But I can see why some people might.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 4, 2015 @ 11:36 am
I feel like one of the best parts of the recent backlash has been the fact that people are actually talking about why they find the flag offensive, rather than assuming that everyone understands.
I deeply, deeply believe in the rights of private individuals to be offensive, but not in the government’s right.
I’m far more worried by shit like Apple removing all of those Civil War games than by TV Land not wanting to play DoH.
July 4, 2015 @ 12:39 pm
I believe I see your point, and here’s how I’d respond.
Firstly, I believe in individual rights. It stands to reason some will continue to wave the flag on their personal property or hang it on the walls of their homes or place bumper stickers depicting it on their vehicles, and I wouldn’t go out of their way to deny them that right. Just as I wouldn’t violate ones right to blast Die Antwoord loud and proudly in a small community in the hours a neighborhood ordinance permits music to be played at a louder volume, where everyone else would prefer Adult Contemporary or Christian music and be offended by their sound………………and vice-versa.
But when it is a public building that serves to represent the whole of a state or district, it gets a whole lot more complicated. Flags are, above all else, rudimentary means of helping to distinguish and signal any sort of affiliation and association. But the messages they send go beyond the social and linguistic. There have been bodies of research that show a positive correlation with flag displays and dominance/subordination (That is underscored by why flag burning has always been such an emotionally volatile debate to this day.)
When flags are displayed on public buildings that serve to represent an entire populace, you have simultaneous clashes based on emotional disposition. On one hand, you have those who identify with that flag as a means of social bonding and cooperation. But on the other hand, you have those who identify with the dominance aspects. Neither response is invalid, but you can nonetheless see that, when any particular flag is flown on any particular building that serves a broader community, you are in effect negating one disposition by means of endorsing the other……………..and thus scratching at old scabs.
Just to be clear, I feel the same way about the Rainbow Flag as well as any other flag not relevant to the identity of the region, state or nation. I have read into the history of that flag and I personally love what it represents. But I also believe it wouldn’t be right to impose that on a public building.
July 3, 2015 @ 12:10 pm
Well that just what I needed to start my lunch off with crying, LOL! Going from disco to t his is quite the shift but damn…
July 3, 2015 @ 12:36 pm
As evidenced by the previous comments, a great opportunity to speak about one of America’s greatest, and underappreciated songwriters has been wasted, in favor of having a discussion about a flag.
What the heck? I didn’t want to, but I guess I will.
July 3, 2015 @ 12:49 pm
I can’t think of a better song to emote the bridges all three gaping holes left for the people affected historically by the war than this one. ‘Dixie’ written by northerner D. D. Emmett, ‘The Battle Hymn Of The Republic’ written by southerner William Steffe, and ‘All My Sorrows’ a Jamiacan slave song. Equal parts for all to give constructive thought to.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 3, 2015 @ 1:15 pm
Yeah, it’s just fucking brilliant. All the credit in the world to Mickey for having the vision to do this.
And it does bear mentioning that blackface was huge in the North, and especially Northern cities, in large part because of how “exotic” black people were. It never had the same grip on the South, who were used to seeing black people in everyday existence.
July 3, 2015 @ 5:40 pm
Coherenr enough for you to write such a quick response. Eight people are dead from the hands of someone who gives allegiance to that stupid flag. I care about that. Do you? Or you more like Trigger? What do I mean by that? Well, rather than focussing attention on those 8 soul, including children and a Senator, he somehow attempt to get us to feel sorry for the confederate army, the flag, and to be moved by the Old Dixie song. Those 8 souls appear to be inconsequential to him and this arena. This arena cares about the flag only. 8 people died, that don’t seem to matter. Removing the stupid flag from some stupid inconsequential bldg, wow, here is something to write about.
As for my writing being incoherent, well to that I say, it should be refreshing to you.
July 3, 2015 @ 5:59 pm
When the authorities finally caught up with the Unabomber in his dilapidated shack, he had very few possessions, and only one book, a copy of Al Gore”™s “Earth in the Balance.” Obviously, we should blame Gore and burn his book because the Unabomber used his arguments as justification for murder. The connection in this case is even less clear, as it is a “flag,” and not a semi-coherent series of arguments….
My advice to you sonas, is to find the largest flagpole you can and go ass to mouth with it until you die of toxic shock syndrome.
July 3, 2015 @ 6:07 pm
Wow, attacks from everyone. Surely there is someone who might empathize with me.
July 3, 2015 @ 6:32 pm
This comment exist, but the one where I called the guy who killed 8 people a racist pig that has been removed.
I am not arguing the removal of any stupid flag. Racism do not need a flag. It is in the heart.
July 3, 2015 @ 6:47 pm
Enough on this thread. Further comments will be deleted. Let’s please stay on topic.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 4, 2015 @ 11:39 am
…and you didn’t even spell coherent right.
As an arrogant Yankee asshole: relax, dude, and either talk about the music, or go blow off some steam by trolling the Fox News comment section.
July 4, 2015 @ 4:30 pm
I actually find you to be more obnoxious than arrogant, you know, in a housefly sort of way.
But hey, at least we almost agreed on something.
Cool Lester Smooth
July 4, 2015 @ 6:30 pm
And I find your new profile picture exceedingly helpful, because it helps me identify you as someone with nothing of value to contribute to anyone, on any subject!
It’s a win-win-win!
July 4, 2015 @ 6:33 pm
Come on guys, play nice. I think highly of both of you.
July 4, 2015 @ 8:48 pm
Just as a clarification, there were 9 people killed, and none of them were children.
Truly a horrendous act of terrorism. However, attacking the Mickey Newbury song does not do anything to grace their memories.
July 4, 2015 @ 9:13 pm
Really, the song? Is that what I’m attacking? I have to scroll up to tell you that guy’s name. All I can remember is that it starts with an M. I feel like a grown woman arguing with a 16 year old kid. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the song , or the story behind the song, or the stupid flag. all I know is 8… oops I mean nine people got killed. Yet the focus of this story is some stupid flag. Who cares about those people who died? Why, they were just a bunch of black people. Beating a dead horse.
July 4, 2015 @ 9:23 pm
No Sonas, YOU have made this about the flag. I went out of the way to make this story NOT about the Confederate flag, and on BOTH stories, it has been Anti-Confederate flag folks that have stimulated the discussion. I also don’t appreciate you saying I don’t care about the people killed. That is a callous, and irresponsible assumption.
Any more comments not DIRECTLY to do with this article WILL BE DELETED.
July 3, 2015 @ 9:33 pm
It is good to sometimes have a quiet moment of grace. It calms the senses. Mickey ‘s song was new and very humble to me. Pity I can’t think of a singer in mainstream country music who could my attention like that.
July 4, 2015 @ 11:17 pm
First time I became aware of Mickey Newbury was when I heard Waylon sing “Between Hank Williams’ pain songs and Newbury’s train songs….” The name sounded vaguely familiar, but that was about it. It did lead me to buy the CD compilation of Newbury’s original material when that was finally released.
July 5, 2015 @ 2:30 pm
When played and sung like Newbury did, “Dixie” is a beautiful song. It’;s amazing what the power of music can accomplish if people stop and listen.
July 6, 2015 @ 11:27 am
Waylon said country started with and amounted to the lyrics. Newbury was a fantastic lyricist. I learned of him through that great poet Townes Van Zandt, whose songs completely undo me.
Really appreciated reading the account of this performance. I hadn’t seen much on that before.
Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson
July 15, 2015 @ 2:20 pm
Dixie is about a free black man wishing he was still a slave. It was a parody and an abolitionist song. It was supposed to be over the top yet like Stephen Colbert it became accepted by those it mocked because they couldn’t comprehend how they could be wrong. You can practically hear them old Southerners, ‘See that nigger he loves it. You know them darkies can’t make it on their own. We are only doing them a favor. Why slavery is FOR the darkies!’ So the song, like the flag, became co-opted by racists, and if you wish to talk/write about it is political because that is a part of the song now. Look what happened to the swastika after Hitler got ahold of it and that was around for thousands years prior.
June 13, 2016 @ 5:55 am
Look I am southerner born and raised in east texas. I do not at all agree with songs or anything supporting slavery but like it or not it is a part of the souths history. We lost but that didn’t erase the fact that so many died fighting. The souths heritage can be frowned upon I understand that clearly but just because it is frowned upon no one can erase it from history. Dixie was song for Fallin and love for the men who died here. Hitler happened but no one can just say we’ll going to erase this because it was bad. It is still fresh in minds. Sorry if I offended didn’t mean to but understand bad and good history shaped us into what we are today. Thank you trigger I am absolutely impressed with your dedication
January 10, 2018 @ 12:32 pm
I have played this song on stage & in my private life hundreds of times wondering how he came up with it. Now, I know and am quite pleased that named people were in the audience. I consider it an outstanding song, both in writing and in composition. Newbury’s version is great but Elvis killed it with Ronnie Tutt on the drums & his own taste added by the TCB Band. Thanks for the article.
September 25, 2019 @ 7:22 pm
Mickey Newbury was one of the finest songwriters ever! Loved EVERYTHING he wrote. His lyrics were as good, or better than Kristofferson’s or any other songwriter. I was SHOCKED that he would not be acknowledged on the Ken Burns documentary.
May 7, 2023 @ 11:59 pm
i first heard mabel joy on a tape i had 20 yrs ago it still makes me cry