My Back Pages
--Interesting in his own right Eyolf Østrem
still maintains the fan's fan tab, chords and music site, the standard by which all others are judged. I just revisited it the other night, while trying to recall how that little run in Dylan's version of Delia
went, and dang, if it didn't have the back story
of that ballad. I love this kind of stuff. The source of that account, John Garst, is the folklorist king of such research--he puts John Henry
at a railroad tunnel near Leeds, Alabama, just east of Birmingham on September 20, 1887, for example. Murder and heroic death ballad back stories are of extreme interest to me, so I decided to post a few more here: Frankie and Albert
, Frankie and Johnny
, Casey Jones
and Stagger Lee
. Did I say I love this kind of stuff?
Emmett just barely got on that train to Mississippi. We could hear the whistle blowing. As he was running up the steps, I said, 'Bo,'--that's what I called him--'you didn't kiss me. How do I know I'll ever see you again?' He turned around and said, 'Oh, Mama.' Gently scolding me. He ran down those steps and gave me a kiss. As he turned to go up the steps again, he pulled his watch off and said, 'Take this, I won't need it.' I said, 'What about your ring?' He was wearing his father's ring for the first time. He said, 'I'm going to show this to my friends.' That's how we were able to identify him, by that ring. I think it was a Mason's ring.
, 81, who wanted the world to see her teenage son's
after his slaying in Mississippi in 1955 and who became a figure in the civil rights movement, died of a heart ailment Jan. 6 at a hospital in Chicago. She had kidney failure.
The impact of the Emmett Till case on black America was even greater than that of the Brown decision. On January 20, 2003, The American Experience will present, on PBS, The Murder of Emmett Till
. (Continued Inside)