Caught by the River

Jeb’s Jukebox

Jeb Loy Nichols | 27th June 2020

Sugar Cane
The MGs

Stax Records

In the dark time will there also be singing?  Yes, there will be singing about the dark time.  So wrote Bertolt Brecht.

I was standing in a field with an unhappy friend; he’d fled north with empty pockets and a long list of grievances.  Life hadn’t gone well and he knew why.  He narrowed his eyes and said, damn the metropolis!    

I nodded and he said, damn anyone in a dark suit and tie!  

He struck an Alan Ginsburg pose and said, damn your privilege, your commerce, your breeding!  Your good taste, your propriety, your reasonableness!  

We were on a shit-streaked hilltop, the wind punishing, our only audience a few sheep and a crow, and he tilted back his head and yelled, damn your democracy, your culture!  You insiders!  Damn the city!  Damn it all and to hell with it!

I took him inside and put ‘Sugar Cane’ by the MGs on the turntable.  

It’s hard to be mad at the world with ‘Sugar Cane’ blasting.

This was before the lockdown, before we all became different kinds of people.  Before we got scared and lazy.  Back when we could touch each other.  Last night he called and said, I need to come up to your place and shout about stuff.  I need to stand on your hill and yell.

I tell him he’s always welcome and then he asks me what that song was.  

You know, the one you played to calm me down.  The one with the organ.

‘Sugar Cane’, I say.  

Send me a copy, he asks and I tell him I will.

So this one’s for him.  And for anyone else who wants to yell at the world.  For anyone who wants to calm down.  For anyone who wants to sing songs in a dark time. 


You can follow the Jeb’s Jukebox Spotify playlist here.