High Water (For Charlie Patton)/ "Love And Theft" / 2001
High water risin' - risin' night and day All the gold and silver are being stolen away Big Joe Turner lookin' East and West From the dark room of his mind He made it to Kansas City Twelfth Street and Vine Nothing standing there High water everywhere
From Willa Perdue, May 1, 2012: In Kansas City, the center of the jazz district used to be at 12th and Vine, and also some at 18th and Vine, but 12th and Vine was the main area. Now it is 18th and Vine (there are apartments or a housing complex or something at 12th and Vine). But there definitely is a 12th and Vine and that used to be the big area for jazz in Kansas City. Jazz tradition lives on (Visit KC)
Vancouver, BC, Canada has one:
From: "Ross Oxby" ten_bob_revolutionary at hotmail.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: '12th street and vine' Date: Fri, 08 Aug 2003 13:58:17 +0000 High water risin' - risin' night and day All the gold and silver are being stolen away Big Joe Turner lookin' East and West From the dark room of his mind He made it to Kansas City Twelfth Street and Vine Nothing standing there High water everywhere The entire verse of High Water is almost certainly a stamp-sized miniature, or microcosm, of Big Joe Turner's 'Old Piney Brown is Gone'. A ballad detailing Turner's search for and failure to find 'a friend of mine' in Kansas City, 'Old Piney Brown Is Gone' recalls how the protagonist searched 'Eighteenth and Vine' - a crossroad junction in the centre of Kansas made famous in the 1920s and 30s for dance halls, jazz clubs, blues joints and an all round blazing nightlife: "In the 1930s, Kansas City possessed 120 night clubs and 40 dance halls; most featured jazz performances. Jazz venues in the 18th and Vine Historic District included the Eblon Theater, Subway Club, El Capitan Club, Sunset Club, and Lincoln Theater. The area also offered support services for musicians through Mutual Musicians Local #627, housed in a building at 1823 Highland Avenue which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982. " An inner city area now associated with black ghetto history and then populated, one assumes, by the mid and late-Thirties by the blacks of the Great Migration (admittedly, to much lesser extent than the likes of Detroit and Chicago further North). Knowing how volatile such ghettos always were, it's not hard to imagine how the vital entertainment of the area described above could have been juxtaposed with the kind of violence that would lead to Piney Brown being "last saw" (sic) on Eighteenth and Vine. Dylan's work, itself a delightful tapestry of blues tradition and cliche, paints in a verse the torment and frantic search Turner detailed in his entire song. Quite where Dylan got 'Twelfth Street' from initially flummoxed me, but a quick seqarch revealed this helpful little site and gave me this lifeline: "The nightly performance of live jazz, dance halls and night clubs, located along both 18th and 12th Streets, established Kansas City's reputation as a music mecca " Clearly, rather than simply retelling the story, Dylan has done his research. Like the whole of Love and Theft, High Water is a semi-transparant, often inverted mask of early Twentieth Century American popular song that through its very ambiguity intrigues the curious and delights everyone else through a manipulation of a tradition only made possible by a flawless knowledge and love of it. I hope this helps someone. Ross Oxby. In addition, and more specifically, '12th street & Vine' is mentioned in the Lieber-Stoller song, 'Kansas City'. This was performed by that other notable bluesman Muddy Waters on the recent reissue of seminal live album Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live. This may be where Dylan got the 12th Street reference as opposed to 18th Street on Joe Turner's Piney Brown. If anything, it is further example of the depth of blues knowledge and history juxtaposed and flowing throughout High Water (For Charly Patton).