Monday, August 12, 2013

I Ain’t Got No Body, A Spooklights Tale

If you dig the music of Stevie Tombstone, stay tuned for more updates as he posts them from his travels and anecdotes on life. Stevie has an archive full of stories from a good number of years as traveling musician. He will be adding context, photos and time lines to help flesh out his journeys.

"Its funny how some songs get their start and this one has quite a history. When I was a child my Grandmother on my Moms side used to sing us to sleep when we stayed in the mountains of North Carolina.
Popular culture and folk culture were surrounding us in every way. One of the songs she sang was taken from spooklight story and a little bit of popular song at the time {I’m just a Gigolo}. She told us the tale of the conductor/brakeman who had lost his head and searched for it forever on the railroad tracks. She said that the lights in the night was his lantern searching for his head in the dark. We would surely stay in bed and hurry to sleep when she sang out “I aint got no body ,no body seems to care for me”. I somehow felt sad for him instead of in fear. I always pulled for the underdog.
Years later while forming the band the Tombstones I concocted a song out of her melody and tale not knowing it would follow me the rest of my life. It appeared on the compilation Make the City Grovel in its Dust,the EP Grave Matter,the EP Preachin Prayin Guitar Playin and later on Twang from the Grave.
One night after opening for the Lords of the New Church in Atlanta I crossed paths with frontman Stiv Bator.There was a mixup backstage and Brian James had accidentally taken my telecaster. When I entered their dressing room to retrieve it I discovered I had crashed and impromptu birthday party for Stiv. His Mum had flown in for the occasion.I ran to the van and grabbed a copy of Preachin Prayin as a birthday gift ,presentedit and got my tele back after a few drinks and cake. Stiv like the EP so much he recorded a version of Nobody for his project with Johnny Thunders and Dee Dee Ramone the Whores of Babylon. I had no idea until quite some time later when a good friend and fan alerted me .
It was quiet a shock and honor and Stiv had since passed away. So thats the story of how a little lullaby form childhood turned into a punk “hand me down” ballad.
Here’s a good source for info on the Gurdon Lights from ABOUT.COM this is perhaps the closest approximation that fits her story. “This ghost light has been seen by hundreds of witnesses who live near or travel to the area around this small Arkansas town about 75 miles south of Little Rock. Seen along a stretch of railroad tracks, this light is also explained with the “headless brakeman” legend. Because of its remote location (you have to hike about 2-1/2 miles off the road to the spot where it can be seen) auto headlights have been eliminated as a possible cause. Those who have seen it say it is usually white or blue in color, and sometimes orange. One distinguishing feature is that it has a distinctive border to it.”"