ORANGE BLOSSOM SPECIAL

Orange Blossom Special has always been a song that has meant more than most to me. My own personal obsessions with Johnny Cash are because he was the sound of my childhood, my father's own obsession, and his began with Orange Blossom Special. It was the song that turned him on to Johnny Cash.

Coincidentally, it was released around the time that I was born, so Orange Blossom Special it is one of the bookends that will bracket my own life. The story behind the song is an interesting one, with disputes over writing credits and Johnny doing the right thing.

The inspiration for the song couldn't be part of this book as the song is about a train that ran down the Eastern Seaboard, and the trip just doesn't take us that way. What is interesting about the song is its timing, because it was released in February 1965, and this is when the events in Selma, Alabama were taking place, when black voters were being denied their civil rights, and Selma was right in my path.

Johnny Cash had never shied away from sticking up for the underdog, evidenced by his Bitter Tears album, detailing the history of Native Americans from their perspective. The song Ballad for Ira Hayes had caused Johnny a lot of problems, and I just wondered why he didn't sing any songs about civil rights at a time when the South was being forced into long overdue change.

As beautiful as the South is, you don't have to travel far to come across more ugliness in its history, and not long after Selma is Montgomery, the city that spread slavery throughout Alabama.

Edmund Pettus Bridge

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma

Downtown Selma

Downtown Selma

Selma from Edmund Pettus Bridge

Selma from the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Montgomery River

Montgomery - slaves would be brought into Montgomery on trains that ran alongside this stretch of river

Commerce Street Montgomery

Commerce Street, Montgomery - the commerce was slavery, and slaves would be marched in chains up this street and kept in the warehouses that lined it

Edmund Pettus Bridg

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma

View from Edmund Pettus Bridge

Alabama River, Selma

James Reeb

Where James Reeb was murdered during the Selma protests

Montgomery river

Montgomery - this would be the first few slaves would have of  Montgomery, the river at the end of Commerce Street

Commerce Street Montgomery

Montgomery - he slaves were eventually sold at the many slave auctions in Montgomery, one of which was on the site of this fountain