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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

State of the Union - Rhode Island

George writes:
I have a feeling this will be the most challenging state yet. We shall see. Of course you all know that Sonic Youth could have provided a song here, but it’s that crappy filler, track 2 side 3, on Daydream Nation, sandwiched by Hey Joni and Candle.  Given that The Throwing Muses all hail from Rhode Island you might have thought that would yield one song from their at times tedious  varied output. But no.

Then there is Little Rhody (the littlest state with the biggest heart) by Timmy May. Remember your sick bucket when you play that one. But Rhode Island is the title of this splendid song, from The LoveHowl, a soul-infused rock band:

Interesting facts about the state of Rhode Island. 1. It is not an island. 2. The state is not called Rhode Island. 3. Does my ignorance of the states of the USA know no bounds?

(Not from Rhode Island)

I did a search to see if I recognised any of Rhode Island’s famous people. Top of one of the lists (Eleven famous people from Rhode Island) was Viola Davis. She is not from Rhode Island. I did recognise two of the names, but of those one was not from Rhode Island. 

(He IS from the state, but who is he?)

Neither was Samuel Slater, Slater The  Traitor, from Rhode Island. He was from Derbyshire (England), moved to Rhode Island and kickstarted the American Industrial Revolution, using his knowledge of British textile technology.This was in the newly independent USA, hence his nickname.

(Samuel “Slater the Traitor” Slater)

Interesting Rhode Island? Well, the state shell is the quahog. Now that did sound interesting. It’s a clam. Maybe it’s very wealthy? Nope, about 20th using a “per person income” index. But it did give us the Newport Folk Festival. I knew that, and so did you. It also gave us the Newport Jazz Festival. I did not know that.

Now, as we all know, there are just NOT ENOUGH KAZOOS in popular music. Mark E Smith made a brave attempt to popularise their use in song on A New Face In Hell. And The Jolly Light Connection have given us this ramshackle song, with a plaintive and at times in tune vocal,  Walking Into Murals (In Rhode Island, during the festival) from the Golden Era Of Spoons album. And yes, I have the album now.

So that’s Rhode Island, properly known as the State of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations. It’s a bit nondescript. Like Surrey (England).

Another next week.

CC writes
America's answer to the Isle of Whithorn, Also not an island.
I've avoided the obvious one by Ike and Tina Turner as I think that is about a chicken

Dale Hawkins -Poor Little Rhode Island


  1. "Road to Rhode Island" by Brian and Stewie Griffin?

  2. Aw - Lynchie has just beaten me to it. (Brian and Stewie lived in Quahog, RI.) Yes when I wrote about RI, that was one of my choices. Not much else although I did include songs from the film High Society as it was filmed amongst the mansions of Newport.

    To quote: "The mansions, or “cottages” as they were called, were originally built by rich plantation owners in order to escape the heat of the Southern summer. Later on rich Northern families started to do the same as the Gilded Age of Vanderbilts and Astors reached its staggeringly opulent zenith. Never had so much money, been made so fast, by so few, and much of this wealth was reflected in the Cliff Walk properties of Newport, RI."

    Funnily enough I likened Connecticut to Surrey when I wrote about it, as a bit nearer to NYC but you are right with RI too.

    Another snippet from my post: "The name came about because the Italian explorer Giovanni Verrazzano thought that the large pear-shaped island sitting in Narragansett Bay looked like the Greek island of Rhodes."

    I will stop now as it seems I'm doing a good impression of being a clever dick!

    1. Much more interesting than the nonsense above Alyson!

    2. You're not wrong, CC. By the way, what's the Ike and Tina Turner chicken track?

  3. "...with a plaintive and at times in tune vocal..."

    Ah, George, don't ever change.