Jessie Mae Hemphill

Four or five years ago I watched a documentary on Christmas music – obscure Christmas music, not the mainstream albums pumped out by big pop stars. It focused on a couple of obsessive collectors – which I identify with – looking for lost treasures. One of the songs was ‘Merry Christmas, Pretty Baby’ by Jessie Mae Hemphill. The song was rollicking, sexy fun & the sound was sort of rustic & homemade – clanky tambourine, slide blues guitar with her vocals on top of it all.

I found her on iTunes & have Feelin’ Good; She-Wolf; Get Right Blues on this mp3 collection. The sound quality is excellent. Her guitar playing is strong. The material is a mix of originals, blues classics & some spirituals. Mostly uptempo & all fun. Levon Helm won grammies for Americana but Jessie Mae is an even more rootsy Americana.

One of the other Christmas songs “Christmas in Veitnam” by Private Charles Bowens & Gentlemen From Tigerland – lead me to the The Rojac Story. The only collection where I could get this track. “Founded in 1963 Rojac Records was Jack Taylor’s attempt to capture the musical pulse of Harlem. Throughout the 60s (and into the 80s) the imprint released a steady stream of releases. Whether they were hits or near hits they’re all exceptional in quality.”

The Rojac Story is some 44 tracks from their catalogue including cuts by Big Maybelle, Damn Sam The Miracle Man & The Soul Con’ & many more. Raunchy, funky music that I was never exposed to growing up on the east coast. Some it novelty or one-cut wonders like Private Charles Bowens. This is a compilation worth tracking down.

Clarence Reid is so well represented in this Rojac collection I picked up his Funky Party – the title alone tells you what to expect. A funky version of Otis Redding – Clarance has a fine voice, lots of fun & charm in his music. He may want ‘A Real Woman’ but is open to fun until she comes along. His ‘Winter Man’ deserves to be rediscovered. Love finding these hidden treasures – at least hidden from me – things that round out my musical knowledge. I never know where I’m going to find something new. 

That first time I watched Jingle Bell Rocks! twice just to jot down the names of songs & performers. Since 2014 it shows up on TV every year in December and I watch it every year.


What do I see for 2001 – the news will not change, different names and better coverage but the same events – senseless killing sprees, innocent people shot at their desks, fire bombed in jungles, cults of capitalist doom consuming the energies of people. 

Money made and lost on the stock market, more lost than made made, dives and dips that will send more people screaming in front of TV cameras with opinions but no solutions.

Bad movies about teenagers with no sense of value that will get rave reviews. Music that no one understands, not even the people who make it. Books of pointless dissections of lives, past recriminations of parents for being human and not gods when bringing up those children, with the microphones hidden in their heads, tape recorders for brains that will spew out entire dinner conversations to reveal just how human parents are.

TV shows about people losing their way in big cities where they don’t even speak the language. Sad American tourists blindfolded and taken by air to unknown destinations and just let free – no money, no guides, just that damn camera crew trailing behind their every step.

The American legal system with tear right down the middle with a nation more divided than ever. Greater civic unrest for minorities who are actually majorities. Whites will wake up to the fact that there are more Asians and blacks than anglos in the the land of the free and those people will demand to be free once and for all from the oppression of financial expectations, religious intolerance and body shame. They will rise slowly but surely before anyone realizes what is going on and the tide of change will not be controlled by any national guard or petty sex scandal.

Water will slowly disappear. People will wake up and find there isn’t enough to go around, not enough water, not enough power. Waste will become a crime. No watering of lawns, recycling of bath water, all controlled to eke out each last drop, but still there will not be enough for some. Only the rich will have lawns, the rest of us will have wild flowers (yeah).

The hungry will get more hungry, the homeless will increase as people lose the longing for home. 

The nature of family will continue to change. The Rockwell image will be replaced with the reality of today. Nostalgia will no longer rule and the those who wish we were back to yesterday will be sent there once and for all, leaving the rest of here to enjoy progress and appreciate and flexible future. For without flex there is no future.

The war between the sexes will continue as men stay stuck till they find the gal still stuck in that past. Men will marry each other, women will marry each other and God will smile while churches that perform such services will be burnt to the ground by worshippers of nostalgia.

2001 will be a year of great spiritual shifts in all who flex and one of deep fear and a distrust to those who refuse to open to the future. 

The future cannot be halted and it is my fault.

every Tuesday

October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up

October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s – sweet,eh?

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


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