This week we have two songs about towns, starting with “My Home is in a Southern Town”, another great late Morton tune recorded during his final band sessions in 1940. This is an unusual Morton tune as it’s one of the small number that’s in more of a popular song vein, and it has a very harmonically advanced verse. Unlike some of Morton’s other “modern” tunes with more striking chord voicings moving in parallel motion, this one moves all over the place in a much more classical style, almost sounds to us like Schubert or something. And there’s a strong tinge of gospel and church influence in it as well. Overall one of my unexpected favorites to learn!
Secondly this week is “Tank Town Bump,” which evidently refers to an uninteresting place: “Tank Town n. any small, unimportant, or uninteresting town. [1905 -10; orig., a town at which trains stopped to take on water]” This one is much faster than the other “Bumps” in Morton’s repertoire (New Orleans Bump and Courthouse Bump), for what it’s worth. It was originally recorded by one of the messiest of Morton’s bands and was basically a piano feature. Anyway it’s got lots of nice breaks and an unusual modulation of the first theme into a new key at the end: