Friday Five: John Henry
According to myth and folklore, some 170 years ago, a hero was born with a hammer in his hand. John Henry was a mountain of a man who developed a specialty of driving railroad steel. When the railroad owner had the foreman bring a steam-powered hammer to do the work, John Henry challenged the owner to a contest. John Henry bet his life for the jobs of his fellow black driving crew. He raced the steam hammer alone through a mountain. In the end, John Henry beat the machine, but exhausted, collapsed and dies.
Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe sings about the folk hero in “Nine Pound Hammer:” “That nine pound hammer that killed John Henry/Ain’t a gonna kill me, ain’t a gonna kill me.”
My kids were watching the Disney channel this past week and saw an animated short about John Henry hosted by James Earl Jones. It got me thinking about the similarities between John Henry’s tale and the current state of the music business. Our music heroes are trying to carve out a living just like John Henry was. In their case, it’s selling their music. In our modern story, the railroad owner could be Steve Jobs. The steam-powered hammer could be compared to iTunes. Instead of the death of man-powered railroad tie-laying, this modern story tells of the tale of the death of the album. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it does bring about this week’s Friday Five–five songs about John Henry.
- Both Kinds of Music: What an excellent team-up.
- Pam Wallace: A day like yesterday,...driving through Ohio countryside with leaves beginning to turn and cows lying in the pastures because every …
- Jackie Lester: My favorite part of autumn is seeing wooly bear caterpillars!
- Mike harris: Love fall with the warm glow of the sun and all the beautiful fall colors
- Richrd Simerson: Love good old bluegrass music
- Six String Richie: Studio A will be replaced with a dog park, condos and restaurants. Gentrification at it's finest.
- Denise Vernon: Full moon with smell of leaves burning.
- Lisa Phillips: Love the Radio Ramblers! My favorite thing about fall is everything pumpkin.....coffee, cookies, muffins, pie.....etc!
- Sabrina Parnell: Def the cooler temps, football, great food , holidays on the way ,and of course more good country music releases.
- Debbie W: the changing colors of the leaves