Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

A dose of fetish. Good friends. An incomparable muse.

Delta Dawn – Challenge #171

‘Delta Dawn’ was written by former child rockabilly star Larry Collins who sang in a duo with his sister Lorrie, along with country performer and songwriter Alex Harvey in 1972.  Tanya Tucker had her first hit with ‘Delta Dawn’, in 1972 at the age of 13, getting to #6 on the country charts and reaching #72 on pop.  The first major performer to take note of the tune was Bette Midler.  She was so moved by the song’s passion that she performed it several times on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, and producer and songwriter Billy Sherrill picked the song for Tucker’s Columbia Records debut album after he saw Midler perform it.  Barbra Streisand showed interest in ‘Delta Dawn’, but she dropped it after finding out that Midler had already cut it.  Helen Ready had a #1 hit with this song in 1973 and it came out two days before Bette Midler’s recording.  Tucker’s version inspired recordings by Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette, and Loretta Lynn.

This song is about a faded Southern belle whose reputation was tarnished when she hooked up with a man of ill-repute.  At the age of 41, she is still wandering the streets of Brownsville, Tennessee, searching for her lost lover.  Alex Harvey grew up in Haywood County, Tennessee and a local woman by the name of Molly Deberry attracted his attention.  Young Alex was fascinated with Molly, but frightened by her at the same time.  He watched her as she walked down the dusty road, while wearing many layers of clothing both in summer and winter and talking or singing to herself in a language Alex couldn’t understand.  As Molly walked, she dragged a large bush behind her and most of the locals considered her to be rather spooky.  Alex eventually found that Molly had a tumor which was removed, but Molly felt that the operation left evil spirits inside of her and the walking was her way to rid herself of the evil spirits.  She talked or sang in tongues, so the Devil couldn’t understand her and the spirits would be driven out.  She dragged the bush behind her to wipe out her tracks so that when the evil spirits began to look for her again, they wouldn’t be able to find her trail.

As Alex grew older, his father fell ill and he helped his mother to take care of him.  After his dad got sick, his mother became very despondent, to the point that Alex wondered if there was someone in her past who she thought she should have married instead.  He felt that his mother adopted a “day-dreamy” attitude following his dad’s illness and was just waiting for someone to come along and take away all her problems.  The images of the two women, Molly Deberry along with his unhappy mother, haunted Alex Harvey for years.  

One night in California, Alex was at a “guitar pull” (a southern tradition where a small group of musicians sit around and take turns playing songs on a guitar) with a songwriting friend of his, Larry Collins, and five or six other musicians in a hotel room, just passing a guitar around and singing songs.  After a while most of the guys either fell asleep or left, and soon Alex was the only one still awake.  He was sitting there strumming the guitar and began to reflect back on his mother’s childhood home in the Mississippi Delta, and how her favorite time of day was dawn.  Alex combined her story and Molly’s, writing a song around a melody based loosely on one of his favorite church hymns, ‘Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown’, which was written by E. E. Hewitt and John R. Sweney in 1908.  

Alex Harvey never knew whatever happened to Molly Deberry and he thinks that she might have just wandered along that old dirt road dragging that bush until she died.  Harvey’s mother was a heavy drinker and she died in an apparent suicide by crashing into a tree when he was a teen.  Harvey said that when he was writing this song, he saw his mother, “I looked up and I felt as if my mother was in the room.  I saw her very clearly.  She was in a rocking chair and she was laughing.  My mother had come from the Mississippi Delta and she always lived her life as if she had a suitcase in her hand but nowhere to put it down.  She was a hairdresser in Brownsville.  She was very free-spirited, and folks in a small town don’t always understand people like that.  She never really grew up.”

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was ameetin’ you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky
She’s forty-one and her daddy still calls her baby
All the folks around Brownsville say she’s crazy
‘Cause she walks downtown with a suitcase in her hand
Lookin’ for a mysterious dark-haired man
In her younger days they called her Delta Dawn
Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on
Then a man of low degree stood by her side
And promised her he’d take her for his bride
Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was ameetin’ you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was ameetin’ you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was ameetin’ you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was ameetin’ you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was ameetin’ you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or a poem that you can share with the WordPress writing community.  There is no need to stick with this song, as if you like to write about another Larry Collins song, or an Alex Harvey song or one done by Tanya Tucker, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand or Helen Ready, then go with that.  You might also go with a song that has the word “delta” or the word “dawn” in it.  Maybe you could write a post about a rose, or any type of flower, or a mansion, or the sky.  If you would like to write about a crazy old lady, or someone that acts strange, or evil spirits, that would also work.  The whole point of this MM Music challenge is to get you to think, to trigger something so that you can show how creative you are and everyone is welcome to participate.  This challenge is very loose, so pretty much whatever you come up with will be acceptable.  I try to throw some ideas out there for you and if they seem right, then go with it.  You could write about a suitcase, or a bride, that would fit.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie brings you a dose of fetish, good friends and an incomparable muse and Dylan Hughes will be here next Friday on December 18 with her First Line Friday and she will provide the first line for your post and then you get to write whatever comes afterward, with the length, genre, and structure being completely left up to you.  I will be back on Friday, December 25 which is Christmas Day, with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘Last Christmas’.  When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you desire.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which will allow you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button, and permit everyone to read your post sooner that way, and then follow the directions that are given.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

20 comments on “Delta Dawn – Challenge #171

  1. pensitivity101
    December 11, 2020

    I only knew of Helen Reddy’s version and had no idea of the history behind the song Jim. Interesting read.

    • newepicauthor
      December 11, 2020

      Thanks Di and I always try to make my posts interesting.

  2. Maggie
    December 11, 2020

    I had never read the history of the song either, Jim. When we experience mental illness in others as a child, it can stay with us for years as evidenced by this song. Very interesting.

    • newepicauthor
      December 11, 2020

      I don’t know a lot about mental illness, so I will take your word on that, but it does make perfect sense to me.

  3. newepicauthor
    December 11, 2020

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    You have definitely heard this song before, and I bet that you love it, although it may become stuck inside your head for the rest of the day. It is a sad-pop stomper of a desolate hymn that was sung by a little girl whose father Bo brought her to Nashville, and no one knew what to do with Tanya because she was blessed with a woman’s voice. She was already a show business veteran and she loved to sing and would tell anyone who would listen that she was going to be a big singing star, although her first voyage into the professional world of entertainment found her filling a small role in the Robert Redford movie Jeremiah Johnson. Stop by today and contribute a story, or a poem. Or some music and even if you don’t have anything to offer, stop by anyway and listen to some music and check out what others have offered up.

  4. Pingback: The Dawn of Hope Reminds Me – A Unique Title For Me

  5. Pingback: Days gone by – Reena Saxena

  6. Astrid
    December 11, 2020

    Great prompt and great song. I’d never heard it.

    • newepicauthor
      December 11, 2020

      It was a big hit in the early 70s and perhaps you were not around then.

      • Astrid
        December 11, 2020

        LOL no I wasn’t, but I’m glad I listened to the song now.

      • newepicauthor
        December 11, 2020

        Come back on Christmas Day to listen to some Christmas music.

  7. Great story behind a lovely song Jim. What a nice share today! I loved it ☺️

  8. badfinger20 (Max)
    December 12, 2020

    Great info Jim…I simply love this song. Our band did a hard rock version of it. We played it live at a fair with a lot of people…I thought we would be booed…they absolutely loved it…even the older country fans…Not heavy metal but we just lit a fire underneath it.

    • newepicauthor
      December 12, 2020

      Thanks Max. It is a great song, but I have never heard it being done by a male singer, however that is who wrote it. I wrote this over two weeks ago and it has been stuck in my hard for a while now because it is such a catchy tune.

      • badfinger20 (Max)
        December 12, 2020

        It is catchy and I love the musical movement in it. It has really great dynamics…I wish I could find a recording we did of it live…I would send it to you.

      • newepicauthor
        December 12, 2020

        That would be great as I would love to hear your band.

      • badfinger20 (Max)
        December 12, 2020

        I have a recording somewhere…if I find it I’ll send it.

      • newepicauthor
        December 12, 2020

        Cool

  9. Pingback: Your hands, my words | paeansunpluggedblog

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