Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Songs About Georgia

Ray Charles' "Georgia On My Mind" and Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Midnight Train to Georgia" are absolutely spectacular songs (few backup singers do backup like the Pips... that "woo-woo!" bit never sounds worn out). They're not even necessarily full-blown sad, except insofar as nostalgia and longing for places and loved ones is always somewhat sad. But somehow, heard back-to-back in the dark of the night they're quite possibly the sound of the broken soul weeping into the last order of whiskey. The wearing down of dreams in "Midnight Train"; the unsettledness of the "no peace I find" line of "Georgia On My Mind" - somehow that delicate mix of hopefulness and exhaustion tilts differently depending on when one listens to the songs...



Funnily enough, "Midnight Train to Georgia" was originally titled "Midnight Plane to Houston". Doesn't have quite the same effect there, does it?

Probably the best songwriter about Georgia didn't actually write a song with "Georgia" in the title": Johnny Mercer. "Moon River", for example, describes a river in his hometown so wonderfully that years later they actually renamed it "Moon River".


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