Great Balls of Fire ignited voters in Round 5 of The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist competition. Hot on its heels, however, was a song from a new generation of Mississippi music makers: rapper and record producer David Banner’s Cadillacs on 22’s.
Rock and Roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis’ signature tune, which epitomizes The Killer’s incendiary style, won 39 percent of the votes, with Banner’s hip-hop hit receiving 23 percent. Lucinda Williams’ Jackson received 19.5 percent, and Fred McDowell’s Shake ‘Em On Down received 18.5 percent.
Great Balls of Fire joins Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett, 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 four rounds of voting. The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist salutes the significance of Mississippi music during our state’s bicentennial celebration.
Next up, four new nominees: Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette, Mississippi by Bob Dylan, Feels Like Mississippi by J. Fred Knobloch and Jelly Roll Johnson, and Mr. V’s Vicious Shuffle by Vasti Jackson.
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 6:
• Stand by Your Man, co-written by Tammy Wynette and Billy Sherrill and originally recorded by Wynette, was released as a single in September 1968. The career-defining hit for the Tremont, Miss., native is the most successful record of Wynette’s career and one of the most recorded songs in the history of country music. Stand by Your Man landed at No. 1 on CMT’s list of the Top 100 Country Music Songs. The song also crossed over to the U.S. pop charts, peaking at No. 19. Wynette was one of several successful women country singers before the song was released, but Stand by Your Man made her a superstar.
• Mississippi originally was recorded during Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind sessions in 1996 and 1997, but ultimately it was left off the album. The song was re-recorded and is the second song on his 2001 album Love and Theft. The chorus was taken from recordings of prisoners singing at Parchman Farm, preserved by Alan Lomax on the album Negro Prison Songs from the Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1947. Popular versions of the song have been recorded by Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks. In 2009, Rolling Stone magazine named Mississippi the 17th best song of the decade, calling it “a drifter’s love song that seems to sum up Dylan’s entire career, and a rambling classic that ranks up there with Tangled Up in Blue.” The song also is listed at No. 260 on Rolling Stone‘s list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
• Feels Like Mississippi was recorded by Jackson native and country singer J. Fred Knoblock and Jelly Roll Johnson on their album, Live at the Bluebird Cafe, in 2000. Prior to his solo career as a singer/songwriter, Knoblock was a member of Let’s Eat, a 1970s rock band. As a solo artist, he was signed to Scotti Brothers Records in 1980 and released the song Why Not Me, which reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, No. 30 on the country chart and spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. In 1986, Knoblock became a member of S-K-O with Paul Overstreet and Thom Schuyler and continued to perform as a singer/songwriter into the 2000s. Knoblock, who lives in Nashville and occasionally performs, hasn’t recorded an album since Live at the Bluebird Cafe.
• Mr. V’s Vicious Shuffle was recorded in 2007 by Vasti Jackson on his third album, Bourbon Street Blues: Live in Nashville. The song, written by Jackson, shows off the McComb native’s signature guitar sound and musical energy, which led him to international fame as an ambassador for Mississippi blues. Jackson’s sixth album, The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2016 in the Best Traditional Blues Album category. Jackson was also a guest performer on the title track of fellow Mississippi bluesman Bobby Rush’s 2016 album, Porcupine Meat, which earned Rush a Grammy Award in the same category.