Tishomingo, Mississippi, is a tiny town: between 1910 and 2020, the census recorded a population of 423 at its height in 1940. But in 1917, Spencer Williams wrote TISHOMINGO BLUES. My guess is that Williams knew the city only by hearsay, and was entranced by the sound of its name (he was living in New York City). But it’s a delightfully moody jazz classic with evocative lyrics.
It’s also a very durable song: musicians love it and it sticks in the memory. Here is a splendid dark yet hopeful rendition from the Thursday-night-pre-pandemic-band-of-heroes who graced Cafe Bohemia, 15 Barrow Street, on January 30, 2020: Albanie Falletta, vocal and resonator guitar; Jon-Erik Kellso, Puje trumpet; Evan Arntzen, clarinet and tenor saxophone; Jen Hodge, string bass:
I hope that it’s not too cold and inhospitable where you are. If it is, play this music again. You’ll feel warmed.
May your happiness increase!