Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mozelle Patterson's Gospel Showcase

I must admit that it's not too often that I tune in to Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting (AIB) on Comcast Channel 5. But a week ago Saturday, I had a truly religious experience while channel surfing.

The girls handed me the remote (this almost never happens), and I scanned up and down the band, but then I abruptly stopped when I reached Channel 5. A woman who appeared to be in her seventies or eighties, dressed in a light pink suit and seated in front of an arrangement of white lilies, was hosting her own gospel video program entitled "Mozelle Patterson's Gospel Showcase.” It had started at 10:00 PM, and by the time I tuned in, there were still about twenty minutes left to go.

Mozelle featured videos going all the way back to 1983. Some of the acts had been taped at live concerts, and others were early, low-budget MTV type recordings that featured prominent gospel artists of the time. But what really made the show was Mozelle's delivery. In a tone of voice which could convince the earth to spin in reverse, she preceded each video with a bit of background on the artists, then interleaved the videos themselves with home-grown commercials for local businesses such as salons, garages, and even funeral homes. She sprinkled in more common-sense, down-to-earth advice in twenty minutes than Dr. Phil could probably issue in a week. Mozelle left you feeling like you were listening to an old friend.

Yes, it's true that I haven't been a big viewer of AIB, but now I have a reason. Mozelle is on Sundays at 3:30 AM and Saturdays at 10:00 PM. I can't wait for next week's installment.

384 Miles to Memphis

Yeah...that's right. You got a groove thing, and you may not even know it.

Lewis called me this morning to ask if I'd heard anything from North Mississippi All-Stars. They are a modern blues band from the Hill Country around Holly Springs, playing down-and-dirty juke joint blues for the new millenium. Put it on and you can taste the fried catfish and hush puppies. For a sampling, check out their "Hill Country Revue" album, recorded in 2004 at the Bonnaroo Festival.

I've also been listening to Hi Times and Top of the Stax for the last few days. It's like sitting down to a big dinner of barbecue and cold beer. You probably stay at the bar too long, but you just can't leave because the music SPEAKS to you. Stand up, dance, be counted...this is the Mid-South speaking to you. =:)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Atlanta 1980

My first trip to Atlanta from Chicago was in 1980. Looking back, it's amazing how things have changed! Witness:

1. The present Hartsfield-Jackson airport was not yet in service. The old airport was full of cream and teal floor tiles and said "1960" out loud.

2. There was a club in Buckhead in which a magician worked behind the bar, doing cigarette and smoke tricks.

3. Lenox Square Mall was in a fairly quiet location. It looked like a suburb.

4. Perimeter Mall was somewhat dowdy, with brightly-colored pendant lights in primary colors hanging from the ceiling. A dirt road led to the Marriott hotel, and cows grazed in pastures at Ashford-Dunwoody and I-285.

5. The Fox Hotel had just been saved from demolition, but the area was fairly empty.

6. Two of the most popular restaurants in town were The Mansion and The Abbey.

7. "The Connector" as we know it (I-75/I-85) did not exist. The expressway that did go through downtown was two lanes in each direction.

8. Atlanta Underground was hanging by a thread due to rampant street crime.

9. Georgia 400 was two lanes in each direction, and there was no section between I-285 and downtown Atlanta. Holcomb Bridge Road (exit 7A now) was the end of civilization as we know it.

10. There were two Home Depot stores in existence nationwide, and both were in Atlanta.

My, how things have changed, eh?