Mississippi Vernacular

by | Oct 18, 2005

Young man come ’round, said he’s from Yazoo County
Said he’s going to Vicksburg to court a flower
Well he bought some diamonds and he bought a ring,
And he swore to God that he would do anything
Yeah, because Doreatha, she’s got her own little way

– from Doreatha by George McConnell

I witnessed my first “Doreatha” Sunday night in Savannah. It was one of the more memorable moments from the show. George and JB both picked up their acoustic guitars and George delivered what can only be described as a very Dylanesque performance of his original material. His vocals had a decided “Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat” style about them.

As I contemplate the lyrics, I’m struck by a likeness to the work of William Butler Yeats. Particularly, his poem, “The Song of Wandering Aengus”.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Rising from the Riverbed, a documentary about Oxford, Mississippi jamband, Beanland–where both JoJo and George got their start–may help explain this literary connection. I’ve added it to the top of my Netflix queue, so we shall soon see.

According to the film’s promotional site, “Riverbed is a celebration of a time and place, in this case, the last two decades in a small town in Mississippi, a rural area usually known for its writers, from Faulkner to Grisham.”