Friday, February 03, 2006

DBT Lyrics Tour - River Lore

The Tennessee River and Wilson Dam are referenced in several DBT/Solo DBT songs. The River has a strong hold on those who have grown up and lived in the Shoals and are of the "Tennessee Valley". Quite a few folks in the Shoals and surrounding area are natural born water babies who have been baptized a thousand times over a hundred summers by that "dirty ol' water". Learning how to water ski wasn't just for the children of "doctors, lawyers and musicians". The children of factory workers, school teachers and TVA employees also learned how to be properly dragged behind a motor boat.

The River has been a life force of the area for millenniums. The natives called the river the "Singing River", oddly enough. I like the think that this initial name set the stage for the area becoming "The Hit Making Capitol of the World".

"The Yuchi people believed that in the Tennessee River there was a young woman who sang beautiful songs. They called it the Singing River".


The Trail of Tears began in the Shoals. One of the sadder historical points concerning the river.

Some of the pictures below were taken by me and others I lifted from the web. I've provided some links that will describe the history of the River and the dam much better than I can.

There is one sneaky picture in the series that's more DBT related than the rest. I'm wondering if anyone will catch it. Leave a comment it you do.

Hope you enjoy a tour of DBT's River Lore!

Never Gonna Change - You can throw me off the Wilson Dam...


Uncle Frank - They flooded out the hollow....


Boys From Alabama - They might find your body in the Tennessee River...




Uncle Frank - The banks around the hollow sold for lake-front property where...


...Doctors,....


...Lawyers,...


....and Musicians teach their kids to waterski.




TVA - Thank god for the TVA
Puttin' People on the Moon - Double Digit unemployment, TVA be shutting soon


In elementary school we'd take field trips to the dam. The most frightful place they took us to was the corridor that ran underneath the damn from bank to bank.

Way before 9/11 we would go down by the locks and sneak off to one of the neo-classical arches and drink beer, make-out..... Good times, good times.



"Towering in size, incomparable in scale and ambitious in design, the Wilson Dam project, constructed from 1918-1927, established a standard for the nation for future waterways improvement. The largest mass concrete United States lock & dam yet built, it was the first federal hydroelectric project as well as the first Corps of Engineers multipurpose effort. Congress, noting the combined benefits of flood control, aid to commercial navigation and the production of hydroelectric power in a single project, soon mandated these elements be evaluated in all new investigations. In 1933, the completed project amazed and inspired newly elected President Franklin Roosevelt to create the Tennessee Valley Authority. This act revitalized a region and provided a blueprint for development of water resources nationwide.

Wilson Dam marked the first successful attempt to tap the potential of the Tennessee River. Efforts to develop the river for economic purposes dated back to the 1830's. Inadequate, they failed to achieve significant results. The barrier of the Muscle Shoals continued to divide the residents of the Tennessee Valley geographically and socially. Poverty stricken, the region led the nation in grim categories like illiteracy, lowest per capita income, infant mortality and the availability of electricity and running water. Initially authorized for national defense, the completion of Wilson Dam paved the way for a period of development that harnessed the river. Rapid industrialization and economic diversification swept the valley".


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sits in the rear of a touring sedan Jan. 21, 1933, at the Wilson Dam hydroelectric plant on the Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals, Ala

Uncle Frank - They powered up the city with hydro-electric juice.


...Now we got more electricity than we can ever use.



I think the sign below would make a good album title


TVA - Me and my daddy use to fish....


....next to Wilson Damn.

Commercial and recreational fishermen proudly display their “catch of the day” below the Wilson Dam outside of Florence, Alabama (circa 1940).

TVA - In that dirty ol water sometimes we couldn't tell...




TVA - Where me and my daddy use to bow to the river and pray...


TVA - ...he put up the damn that powered most of the south...


Uncle Frank - T.V.A. had a way to clear it off real fast...

Lots of men and machinary, build a dam and drown the rest



9 comments:

DBT list lurker said...

Bury his body in the old sink hole...

Haney said...

Thanks so much for these blogs! I really enjoy them :)

JPW said...

Hi DBT list lurker,
I'm assuming that's your guess for the sneaky pictures. Good one! But that's not it.

Haney! I'm glad you're enjoying them. They are a lot of fun to do.

Anonymous said...

I cheated.... the answer is in your filenames... DHoods.jpg & DH2.jpg

:)

--Matt

JPW said...

DANG! Good one, Matt. You know, I even thought to change the names of those files before I posted them but of course I forgot.

Bob Kincaid said...

Always great to see another brother Shoalsian in Upper Blogistan!

I rely on the Truckers for a lot of my bumper music on my Progressive Political talk show, "Head-On With Bob Kincaid." I even have a few listeners from the Shoals, which is always cool.

As I saw the mention of the "sneaky" picture, I scrolled downward, looking for perhaps a picture of the Salem Church of Christ. :)

Keep up the good work!

JPW said...

Hi Bob, Good to meet you. We need to chat!

If you want to see a picture of the Salem Church of Christ, take a look here:
http://alabamaasswhuppin.blogspot.com/2005/12/zip-city-dbt-picture-tour.html

Harry Haller said...

Just discovered your blog today, courtesy of largeheartedboy, and am really enjoying it. Particularly liked these pictures. One of the things I particularly like about DBT is the way their music is so clearly situated in a (somewhat unglamorous) real place. Gives the music an authenticity that very little music achieves these days. The pictures really reinforce that.

JPW said...

Thanks, Harry! It is a real place and from the outside it is quite "unglamorous". But the underbelly of the Shoals is properly displayed in DBT's lyrics. They really are singing true songs about my and their southland