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The Northern Thing

Freebird… You know it’s a ‘very’ long song

The Northern Thing is my blogsite, named as a tribute to an album that is itself a tribute to a rock band…

You may recognise the song title ‘Freebird’ at the top of the page, but I doubt that too many of you will recognise the rest of the tagline as a quotation from the opening of the album “Southern Rock Opera” by the ‘Drive By Truckers’ (come on, own up, have you even heard of the Drive By Truckers ?)

Patterson Hood, main man of the DBT’s (as they are known to their fans) says of the Southern Rock Opera “We wanted to examine people’s misconceptions of the South, and study some modern-day southern mythology. The band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s story seemed like the ultimate vehicle for tying all of these loose ends together into what would hopefully flow like one big story.”


One of the tracks on the album is called ‘The Southern Thing’, so I have hijacked that and called my Blogsite ‘The Northern Thing’ – because as everyone who knows me knows I am a Northerner and happy to come from the North.

As for that tagline, well here are the lyrics for the opening track of the Southern Rock Opera

Bobby went out for a joy ride with my best girl
Left me at the party,
He was my best friend and I miss him.
It was almost June and the ¾ moon illuminated the rain-soaked streets like a candy wrapper.
I guess that’s why Bobby had his lights off,
Tear-assing threw the back part of town and those deserted country roads where me and Bobby tear-assed so many times before.
Sometimes with my best girl and sometimes Bobby had him one too.

But this night he banked that curve just a little too hard and that 442 went airborne,
Hit a telephone pole and split in two, Bobby’s skull was split right in two,
And my girl was pinned in her seat, partially embedded in the dashboard
And for the next twenty minutes the only sound in the night were her screams.
And the sound of the wheel still spinning.

In a little while the ambulance came and the sound of its siren mixed with the screaming girl and the spinning wheel.

But when the story was told the next day at the graduation ceremony,
Everyone said that when the ambulance came
The paramedics could hear “Freebird” still playing on the stereo.

… You know it’s a ‘very’ long song.