16 October 2013

Politically Correct Rocky Top

The actual rocky top of Rocky Top
I remember once that a traveling evangelist who had been saved from the wiles of the devil's tunes had preached a series on music during chapel time at my school.  Insert here that I went to a very fundamentalist Baptist high school.  I think it was during the last session, when he took on the issue of Christian "rock", that he so much as invited us non-Baptist kids to leave.  A few of us did.  And I don't think he was invited back to speak.

But the former rock star didn't stop with Christian rock-a term I don't believe is used anymore-he included a lengthy dissertation on what was wrong with so many of the beloved hymns sung by the saints.  You see, during the time of Martin Luther and Charles Wesley, hymn authors used tunes and melodies that were familiar to the average person who couldn't read music.  They just gospelized the tunes......which often times were traditional pub and drinking songs.  The evangelist suggested that we no longer sing such hymns because it glorified this detestable behaviour.

Enter Rocky Top.

Plymouth Schools, well heck, Plymouth in general, has so few traditions to cling to that the outrage banning Rocky Top being played after a touchdown under the Friday night lights, came as no surprise.  The news item going national?  Well, yeah, that comes as a surprise.  Going back at least 20 years the Bluegrass classic about a mountain in Tennessee called Rocky Top, has been played as a sort of victory theme with each Plymouth Rockies touchdown.  Yeah, so what if it is in Tennessee, when the home field is called the Rock Pile, Rocky Top just seems befitting.  The school administration banned the song because of the lyrics in the second verse, which are never played after a touchdown:

Wish that I was on ole rocky top,
Down in the tennessee hills.
Ain't no smoggy smoke on rocky top,
Ain't no telephone bills.

Once there was a girl on rocky top,
Half bear the other half cat.
Wild as a mink, sweet as soda pop,
I still dream about that.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.


Once two strangers climbed on rocky top,
Lookin' for a moonshine still.
Strangers ain't come back from rocky top,
Guess they never will.

Corn won't grow at all on rocky top,
Dirt's too rocky by far.
That's why all the folks on rocky top
Get their corn from a jar.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.

Now I've had years of cramped up city life,
Trapped like a duck in a pen.
Now all I know is it's a pity life
Can't be simple again.

Rocky top, you'll always be
Home sweet home to me.
Good ole rocky top,
Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.

Rocky top tennessee, rocky top tennessee.
Yeah rocky top tennesee eee eee eee.


First of all, anyone who has ever watched the Dukes of Hazzard would know that the first part of the verse is referring to Revenuers who went looking to destroy the still.  Evidently the thought is that by merely singing the chorus, students are being driven to drink, or at least feel it is more acceptable.  Now, teenage drinking is a serious problem-no doubt about it-but we all know the obscure words in the song never drove anyone to drinking.  I guess if that were true, there would also be more Plymouth students being drawn to the hills of Tennessee, looking for girls half bear/half cat, and staying away from cramped-up city life.  Quite the opposite I believe.  Kinda' like I've never seen a stream of Methodist march out the aisles of church on Sunday to hit the local watering hole after singing A Mighty Fortress.

In talking with one of the football players I suggested he do what the great hymn writers did with drinking songs.  Change the lyrics.  So maybe the second verse would go something like this......

I enrolled in PBL at school,
best chance to get a great degree.
Learn-in' plenty in my class, that's right-
No college will decline me.

Drinkin's bad, we all know wrong from right,
Makes me dumb as can be.
Don't need no beer belly later on in life,
We'all love Mr. Tyree.

Good ole Rocky Top......near or far, native or not, you'll always be home sweet home to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can we now move on. Is this the kind of National "attention" that we actually deserve? We have become the mouth breathers that we used to laugh at on TV. Starke County has got nothing on us now!