Just the thought of Dorothy Moore turns many Mississippians Misty Blue.
Moore, who was born in Jackson, began singing in the The New Stranger Home Baptist Church Choir at age five and was inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame in 2001, is crowned Queen of Round 9 of The Ultimate Mississippi Playlist. Her soulful ballad Misty Blue from 1976 received 43 percent of the votes. Runners-up in this round are Ike and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary, 35 percent; Rae Sremmurd’s Black Beatles, 16 percent, and The Band Perry’s If I Die Young, 6 percent.
The Playlist salutes the significance of Mississippi music during our state’s bicentennial celebration. Songs selected in previous rounds of voting include Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley, Hello Darlin’ by Conway Twitty, Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette, Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis, 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.
Next up, four new nominees, including two suggestions from Mississippi Today readers: Back Where I Come From by Mac McAnally, I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) by Howlin’ Wolf, Mississippi by the Charlie Daniels Band and Mississippi River by Paul Davis.
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 10
• Back Where I Come From, written and recorded by country artist Mac McAnally, was released in January 1990 as the first single from his album Simple Life. The song, which reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, pays homage to McAnally’s Mississippi roots. Born in Red Bay, Ala., the singer grew up in Belmont, Miss., and began playing piano and singing at the Belmont First Baptist Church. He became a session musician in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and by 1977 he signed with Ariola Records and recorded two albums. He found success writing songs for fellow Mississippian Jimmy Buffett and continued recording his own music. Country superstar Kenny Chesney covered McAnally’s Back Where I Come From in 1996 and included a live version on his 2000 Greatest Hits album. McAnally is one of the most respected singer/songwriter/performer/producers in country music; he has won the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year award a remarkable six times.
• I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline), a haunting tune by Howlin’ Wolf, was one of five songs the renowned bluesman had on Billboard’s national R&B charts in the 1950s. The song, released in 1956 on the album Moanin’ in the Moonlight, is a rewritten version of Tommy Johnson’s Cool Drink of Water Blues, recorded by Johnson in 1928. Born in White Station, Miss., in 1910 as Chester Arthur Burnett, Howlin’ Wolf became one of the best-known Chicago blues artists. The singer, guitarist and harmonica player began performing in the 1930s, and his last album, The Back Door Wolf, was released in 1973, three years before his death.
• Music critic Robert Christgau describes Mississippi, co-written by Charlie Daniels and Vincent Youmans, as a sentimental reminiscence. “Mississippi/You’ve been on my mind/
Like a mist in the morning/From some dream I’ve left behind/Mississippi/I’ve been kinda down/Because it’s been such a long time/Since I’ve seen old Jackson town.” The song was released in September 1979 as the second single from the band’s album Million Mile Reflections. It peaked at No. 19 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and at No. 3 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart. It was noted as one of the “Most Performed Songs of the Year” in 1980 by the BMI Awards.
• Mississippi River was the sixth track on soul, country and pop singer/songwriter Paul Davis’ first album, A Little Bit of Paul Davis, released in 1970 with Bang Records. The Meridian native was a member of the Six Soul Survivors in 1966 and later joined the Endless Chain. In 1968, he became a writer for Malaco Records in Jackson before signing with Bang Records and starting his solo career. Davis’ most successful songs are 1977’s I Go Crazy, a pop song that once held the record for the longest chart run on the Billboard Hot 100, and 1982’s ’65 Love Affair, another pop tune which at No. 6 is his highest-charting single. In the mid-1980s, he also had two country No. 1 hits as a guest vocalist on songs by Marie Osmond and Tanya Tucker.