RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Friday, December 7

SONG OF THE DAY: Jackie Blue


It’ll Shine When It Shines by Ozark Mountain Daredevils was a heavily played LP throughout my youth, which went with my dad to the trailer down the road when my folks separated, and then went away with me to college, and has lived with me ever since. The album cover has that plate motif that everybody in the country had back in the day, and we had a set, only used on nice dinners. I remember most nights was hot dogs and cheap ass generic mac-n-cheese, on paper plates but with those weird wicker paper plate holders to make them sturdy. But on some occasions (Sundays? birthdays? holidays?) we’d bust out the old blue and white plates, and I have very strong visual associations with those plates and mashed potatoes and peas, which was not a common meal, obviously special shit, and likely also meatloaf but my little hungry ass probably ate that right away.
This album makes me think of country, and not shit I read but what I lived. Playing in the woodpile in Rice, VA, busting up my weeble wobbles, disappearing off to the barn across the field. That house is gone, old cinderblock shithole long lost to something or other. Then there was Meherrin, home of Roy Clark (RIP) and Raven Mack (Alive!), where my grandfather funded us having a house, enabling stability that might not have happened otherwise. Playing in the woods, turning my uncle’s junk car into a time machine which can only go to Pikeville, Kentucky, for some reason. And finally the trailer down the road, which I shared with my dad, cold as fuck, clothes on the line outside by the trash barrel even in the winter. Country as fuck shit. That trailer’s gone now too, replaced by a newer trailer in the same spot.
I see a lot of performative rural identity online now, and I remember that shit happening in the ‘90s too, in real life though, and it annoyed the fuck out of me. People cosplaying white trash. It’s annoying now. There’s no glamour to that shit, and I’ve worked most my past ten years trying to break bad cycles and be a healthier human being. And I’m also incredibly proud of who I am, the whole way through, all 45 years, because it gives me a perspective not everybody has. I mean, that’s true for a lot of folks… and yet seemingly our media and cultural representations are still pretty homogenized. Even “diversity” is a fairly homogenized presentation of a liberal diversity. That likely won’t ever change. But when I see corny ass memes acting like a dude with a mullet leaning against a truck is reading Marx, it bugs me. Shit, the fact I just called it a mullet, an internet slang homogenization, instead of a short and long like what I knew it as growing up, bothers me. And I say that as a person who had a pretty fuckin’ sick rat tail when I was like 11 years old, which I could even braid, myself.
“Jackie Blue” was the radio hit song off this album, and I love every song on this LP, but this one will show up on the radio still, and it hits me in the country ass feels every time. It will indeed shine when it shines, but y’all fake shinefaces can fuck right the fuck off. Forever.


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