Miss Myrtle and the Razzle Dazzle Belle Bang Bluegrass Band - Theo Edmonds
Miss Myrtle and the Razzle Dazzle Belle Bang Bluegrass Band
by Theo Edmonds
A story about the power of people who make music… together.
Dedicate to ALL the children of Kentucky, our greatest hope for the future.
Bedazzled, befuddled or haloed,
The world holds so many different kinds of people
You pass by so many, each day on the street.
There are all kinds of people,
Who in your life you will meet
But of all the people you’ve ever met
Of all the folks I bet you can name
There is not a one, quite like Miss Myrtle
The singing saint of the town of Belle Bang
Belle Bang is a fine mountain town
With miles of smiles and a swell Bluegrass band
And every day at noon
Myrtle’s up there singing on stage
Always wearing blue flowers in an old worn out hat
Smiling and singing and waving big hands
Miss Myrtle is the Razzle Dazzle
In our Belle Bang Bluegrass Band
Myrtle is the champion of Belle’s Everyday People
The keeper of songs that rise up from our land
Myrtle’s music whispers to giants, asleep in mountains
Our town was even saved one time, by Miss Myrtle and the Belle band.
The story begins just over Mongerdoodle Mountain,
Beyond the edge of Belle
In a big place called Slick City.
Where some people known as Falootans live
It’s where the Slick City Falootans do dwell
The Slick City Falootans… that is the name by which they are known
And when our story begins,
Slick City was growing too fast.
Slick City was nearly outgrown.
Senator Shriek, their slick ole leader had decided
That he would take over Belle Bang
He’d replace the town with factories,
To support his Falootan gang.
The Falootans wanted more business for business sake.
They wanted more money
They wanted more and more of all that greed-driven stuff.
But for those Falootans you see, such a sad strange thing,
Enough was never enough.
They thought the most valuable things, were what money could buy
High Falootan desire, driven by High Falootan greed.
That’s what Falootans thought everyone should want,
That’s what they thought everyone should need.
So led by Senator Shriek and Governor Greed
The Slick City Falootans, began setting their trap
Belle Bang soon would be just one more pinpoint
On the growing SlickCity map
Belle’s teachers and schools were the first thing that,
Slick City promptly shut down
Governor Greed said, “The only learning that’s needed is to teach kids to work –
They must earn their way in this town!”
But even to the workers of Belle,
The Governor gave stern warning
“You’re only as good as your contribution today
You’re only as good as the place you are earning.”
“We have Slick City goals, we must always keep growing
Value is measured in money. It is the best way of knowing
Knowing who is valuable, and truly worth keeping
We need less goats, and more people who’re sheeping. “
The Falootans stormed the BelleTower. Destroyed Belle Town Hall.
And, though they had been there for a thousand years,
They cut and buzzed them right down to the ground –
The lovely and green, town square Belle Oaks
Everywhere they turned, Falootans shouted and yelled
They snorted and snarled at all the Belle Bang sweet folks
“Get out of this place, you should no longer be here!”
“We claim the town of Belle for Slick City!”
Grumbled Senator Shriek, the Highest-Falootan leader.
“And those of you who do stay “ he grimaced and frowned.
“Those of you who don’t have any where else to move your homes to,
Those of you too... who just choose not to go,
You will be put to work in our factories. You’ll do just as we say.
You’ll produce Slick City Steam, more and more every day
That’s what we need to make SlickCity grow!
The Belle folks began to feel defeated,
Slick City seemed just too strong
Even Myrtle and the band had started to think
That hope was all nearly gone.
Music and Happiness would soon, it seemed
Be a forgotten thing of the past
Belle Bang had nearly stopped dreaming
Belle Dreams were fading fast.
Then Senator Shriek said something that made Miss Myrtle remember
The power of song and rhyme,
Shriek declared: “Music makers are foolish and useless!
Making music is just a waste, of MY PRECIOUS money-making time!”
Well right then, Miss Myrtle decided.
That enough was more than enough!
Myrtle began singing real loud to remind Belle’s Everyday People
That nice folks could also be tough.
“Papaws reach back in your memory,” Myrtle sang,
“To those times where we stood proud and strong
Grannies reach up to the ancestors
They’ve been here all along
Young folks know that within you
Flickers the flame of centuries and dreams.
Let people and music become your guide
It aint as hard as it seems
Those who are hurting take hope
Liberation is within our reach
We are worthy, each and every
This is the message we’ll preach
Let us sing real loud and speak our truth
To push out Shriek and Greed
Us mountain folks stand
On the shoulders of giants
WE are the answer we need.”
The young folks were first, to join in singing
Miss Myrtle’s sweet song of hope
Then seeing this, the older folks too
Began to get fully woke.
Then all of a sudden it happened,
Just over the mountain from Belle
The Everyday People who lived in Slick City, heard Myrtle’s song of freedom
And started singing their own! They were songs of resistance as well !
From both sides of Mongerdoodle Mountain
ALL the Everyday People joined in singing
A song to push out Shriek and Greed.
All the Everyday People sang together
“Each other is what we need.”
As sunrise came up over the mountain
The Falootans found themselves trapped
Shriek and Greed had forgotten that
Everyday People… need people… everyday.
People are more than a map
The victory theirs, Myrtle and the kids, climbed the top of Mongerdoodle mountain,
To sing and to dance and rejoice!
Their music had brought together people from everywhere!
ALL singing in one Everyday People voice.
Yes when Everyday People, together all sang, “Truth to Power!”
All the Everyday People of BOTH Slick City and Belle,
All discovered that working together
Caused Everyday Hope to swell.
As their togetherness grew, “United We Stand!”
Became their way of living each day.
Everyday People, everywhere, learned to lean on each other
In that special everyday way.
But had it not been for Myrtle
The keeper of our hopes in a song
The stories of everyday folks today, might have turned out real different,
Hallelujah! The arc of justice bends long.
As the years went by, the legend grew
Myrtle’s name was often spoke, always with great love and caring
Myrtle became a legend for bringing
Everyday hope, in a everyday song, meant for everyday sharing.
Then one day, as all folks do, Myrtle did pass away.
Everyday People from both sides of the mountain sang to remember,
The one whose music flowed like honey, all throughout the land
They told the stories of Razzle Dazzle
When Myrtle took to the stage with the Band
If Miss Myrtle were still here today,
I’m sure we would be reminded,
To move on through every day of our lives,
And to one thing -- never forget or be blinded…
…Some folks are here, to teach us all lessons
Some are here to help save our lives
There are bullies and meanies, who live up in green, pampered places
And secret angels living down in hollers and dives
Secret angels are all around us
If we just look to see them there
They don’t usually have wings…
They don’t need lots of money just to buy things
They are wonderful secret angels, pretending to be music-making people
Teaching us all how to be kind and show love
Things every one of us, need every day,
Like a cold hand needs a glove.
So next time you pass by, someone on street
Be sure you see them for who they are
Someone who needs you, like you need them
That’s the way Everyday People are.
Some folks may start as a stranger, somewhere over a mountain
Only to become a trusted, everyday friend
And that is why you, should be a friend too
Because when a story begins, you never really know
How things will turn out in the end.
Theo “Alan” Edmonds, from Jackson Kentucky, is a faculty member at the University of Louisville School of Public Health & Information Sciences’ Center for Creative Placehealing and the co-founder of IDEAS xLab .
This column is brought to you by Our Breathitt, a community arts and health experience bringing together artists and Breathitt Countians from across Kentucky. Project is organized with IDEAS xLab (an artist-led nonprofit), and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Starting in August 2019, five collaborating writers, each with their own perspectives and ties to the county, will offer weekly columns and audio stories for radio and podcasts. Contact us at 859-397-1317 to join this conversation by leaving a voicemail with your response to the questions we raise and adding thoughts of your own! You may hear your responses incorporated into future posts and narratives! You can also email at email@example.com. We hope you will mark your calendars and join us at the Our Breathitt Summit, October 11-12 in Jackson, Kentucky. Information at www.ideasxlab.com/ourbreathitt.