Come December, The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist will be complete. In the meantime, Come Monday is the latest song added to the roster by Mississippi Today readers.
In our closest competition since Round 1, Come Monday won 39 percent of the vote, followed by the Doobie Brothers’ Black Water, 31 percent; Mavis Staples’ Down in Mississippi, 19 percent, and Jimmie Rodgers’ Blue Yodel, 11 percent.
Although the ballad is not about Mississippi, Come Monday was written and recorded by Jimmy Buffett, a native of Pascagoula and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. The song was first released on his 1974 album Living & Dying in ¾ Time and was his first Top 40 hit single. Buffett wrote the song to his wife while he was on tour.
Come Monday joins Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry, The Thrill is Gone by B.B. King and Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson, selected in the first three rounds of voting. The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist salutes the significance of Mississippi music during our state’s bicentennial celebration.
Next up, four new nominees: Great Balls of Fire, by Jerry Lee Lewis, Jackson by Lucinda Williams, Cadillacs on 22’s by David Banner and Shake ‘Em On Down by Fred McDowell.
You can listen to the new entries and vote for your favorite on mississippitoday.org. You also can vote on our Twitter account. Every two weeks through the fall, a fresh ballot of four new nominees will be published.
To be nominated, songs must be about Mississippi or performed by Mississippi artists. All of the contenders were selected by Mississippi music experts, Mississippi Today and The ‘Sip magazine.
Contenders in Round 5:
• Great Balls of Fire was recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1957 on Sun Records in Memphis. Written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer, the song also was featured in the 1957 movie Jamboree. Lewis’ signature tune, which epitomizes his incendiary style, was ranked as the 96th greatest song ever by Rolling Stone magazine and sold 1 million copies in its first 10 days of release in the United States and 5 million copies total. Not surprisingly, Great Balls of Fire is one of the world’s best-selling singles of all time. Lewis, born in Ferriday, La., near Natchez, now lives in Nesbit in North Mississippi. The rock and roll legend continues to perform regularly.
• Jackson appears on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, the fifth studio album by singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. Car Wheels, released on June 30, 1998, by Mercury Records, won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album and was Williams’ first album to go “gold” for sales of 500,000 units. Jackson, which tracks a road trip through Louisiana and Mississippi, is like a roll call of Southern towns along the way, many of which are significant to Williams. She said in a 2016 interview that her sister was born in Jackson and her brother in Vicksburg, which is also mentioned in the song.
• Cadillacs on 22’s is a popular single that appeared on rapper and record producer David Banner’s second studio album, Mississippi: The Album. Released on May 20, 2003, the album was his major-label debut on SRC Records and Universal Records. Born in Brookhaven, Banner later moved with his family to Jackson, where he grew up. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Banner started his music career as a member of the rap duo Crooked Lettaz, before going solo in 2000 with the release Them Firewater Boyz, Vol. 1.
• Early blues singer Bukka White recorded Shake ‘Em On Down in Chicago in 1937 just before his incarceration at the infamous Parchman Prison Farm in Mississippi. Many musicians have re-recorded the song, including Mississippi Fred McDowell, who offered several renditions, using both acoustic and electric slide guitars. Born in Rossville, Tenn., McDowell moved in 1928 to Mississippi to pick cotton and finally settled in Como. His playing and singing styles became internationally known through recordings Alan Lomax made of his music in 1959. His life and music have recently been documented in a film, Shake ‘Em on Down, by Joe York and Scott Barretta.