Commencing In Chattanooga

Album: The Scottsboro Boys (2010)
Play Video


  • Ten years before Glenn Miller boarded the "Chattanooga Choo Choo", the Scottsboro Boys boarded the same train traveling from Chattanooga to Memphis, Tennessee, where they might just have met a 4 year old Chuck Berry if they hadn't been arrested at Paint Rock for rape, taken to Scottsboro, tried convicted, and sentenced to death. Apart from the youngest of them, who was twelve years old at the time.

    The story of the nine young Negroes known as the Scottsboro Boys is one of the most shameful in what was admittedly a difficult era for most Americans; 1931 was the height of the Great Depression. The Scottsboro Boys were hoboing when they got into a fight with some white hoboes and were accused of rape by two low class white women. Reading between the lines of sanitized accounts, one of these women, Victoria Price, although married, was not the sort of woman most men would take home to mother.

    The case of the Scottsboro Boys dragged on for years before the truth came out, although Victoria Price never recanted her testimony. She died in 1983.
  • The uptempo "Commencing In Chattanooga" is the second song in The Scottsboro Boys; as the rest of the musical, it has music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Timothy B. Schmit

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal Tap

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal TapSong Writing

Based on criteria like girlfriend tension, stage mishaps and drummer turnover, these are the 10 bands most like Spinal Tap.

La La Brooks of The Crystals

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

Songs About Movies

Songs About MoviesSong Writing

Iron Maiden, Adele, Toto, Eminem and Earth, Wind & Fire are just some of the artists with songs directly inspired by movies - and not always good ones.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Kip Winger

Kip WingerSongwriter Interviews

The Winger frontman reveals the Led Zeppelin song he cribbed for "Seventeen," and explains how his passion for orchestra music informs his songwriting.