Go, Mississippi

Written by Houston Davis

States may sing their songs of praise
With waving flags and hip-hoo-rays,
Let cymbals crash and let bells ring
'Cause here's one song I'm proud to sing.

Go, Mississippi, keep rolling along,
Go, Mississippi, you cannot go wrong,
Go, Mississippi, we're singing your song,

Go, Mississippi, you're on the right track,
Go, Mississippi, and this is a fact,
Go, Mississippi, you'll never look back,

Go, Mississippi, straight down the line,
Go, Mississippi, ev'rything's fine,
Go, MIssissippi, it's your state and mine,

Go, Mississippi, continue to roll,
Go, Mississippi, the top is the goal,
Go, Mississippi, you'll have and you'll hold,

Go, Mississippi, get up and go,
Go, Mississippi, let the world know,
That our Mississippi is leading the show,

Official Song of the State of Mississippi.
Adopted in 1962.

Go back to US State Songs

As a Mississippian, I am thoroughly ashamed of this song. Simply seeing its text, you cannot grasp the sheer inanity of the lyrics plus music, sung in an ingratiatingly saccharine voice by a group of five-year-old kindergarteners, of which I was, sadly, a member, during one of those programs whose sole purpose is to allow parents to take even more pictures of their already utterly documented child and for the PTA to pride itself on its outreach to parents. I mean, what in God's name was the Legislature thinking when it made this the state song? Even "Dixie" and the images of black slaves picking cotton it dredges up would have been better for the state's image.

It's not enough, evidently, to say to the rest of the Union that we'd had our collective ass totally kicked in the War of Northern Agression, that our assets had been more or less picked up and carried off during Reconstruction, that far from our pre-war prosperity, we are now the absolute poorest group of all--no, evidently this is not enough! Evidently we, in the person of our state Legislature, embodiment and incarnation of the Will of the People, have to say "Hey, guys, we're a bunch of pansies who can't even write a decent goddamn song." I mean, come on! Spelling out the name of the state?

We should, at the very least, have gotten one of our own to write it--Elvis Presley, maybe, or B. B. King--Othar Turner or Junior Kimbrough. Give it the rhythm of the Delta, of the poorest of the poor, and you would capture our mutual soul ever so much better. Give it the capitol-city bustle of Jackson, with the porch-seated greetings of Indianola or Greenville or Natchez or even Oxford. Give it the cadence of the fishermen, calling out from shrimp boats early in the morning, the water of the Sound flicking occasionally with a jumping mullet, as the islands come slowly into a lazy focus. Make it what is truly ours and not some cheap imitation. Then we would have a song worthy of us.

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