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Aristotle Jones’ ‘Streets of Osage’ celebrates Al Anderson and the coal camp

How’s this for a love tune?

Aristotle Jones, the Morgantown musician, songwriter and performer who repeatedly sings the praises of the Osage coal camp, smiled when he heard about how its residents delivered that day.

When Osage’s U.S. Publish Workplace constructing was completely shuttered a couple of years again, a lot of these residents turned out.

And, on this specific sunny afternoon in the midst of the week, they had been armed.

With screwdrivers.

The toolbox implement was so they may take away the small, windowed latches embossed with the pink and gold numbers to their mailboxes.

Mentioned latches, they needed to open day by day, as a way to get to the mail that was their portal to life in Appalachia and the world.

Utility payments.

Letters from sons within the army simply out of primary coaching.

A birthday card from the sister who married and moved away, however by no means forgot the place she was from.

That common copy of JET, when the publication was nonetheless a newspaper and never {a magazine}.

Catalogues, Christmas playing cards and the one fats envelope telling you that you might have already gained the large sweepstakes prize.

Two-liter bottles of Coke and Pepsi had been twisted open that afternoon.

Any individual’s mother made a platter of pepperoni rolls, and everyone descended upon the constructing.

That’s the place they’d all lingered to speak, for all these years anyway, as they picked up their mail.

Mentioned latches, they had been preserving as keepsakes.

A day that would have been a little bit unhappy, wasn’t.

Because it turned out, the Osage Publish Workplace had already been stamped with some popular culture whimsy, anyway.

Marvel merchandising. And a humorousness.  

A wag on a piece crew that put a brand new roof on the place a few years prior, had tied an opulent Spider-man determine to the entrance over the doorway.

Individuals appreciated it and laughed on the spectacle of Spidey perched there, so it stayed.

That’s the factor about Osage, Jones stated: Individuals (plus one costumed superhero, on this case), keep.

Which is why he wrote the tune that’s his newest single.

It’s a sonic tribute to the folks of Osage who stayed — and one proud son, specifically, who got here again.

Chords of reality

“The Streets of Osage,” is the tune that can also be a part of the performer’s newest album, “Mountain Doo-Wop & The Streets of Osage,” which was launched earlier this 12 months.

Go to Jones’ YouTube web page at to listen to the tune and to observe the music video.

Videographer William Walker shot it on a misty, mountain morning within the coal camp, nestled in a cut-out valley simply exterior Morgantown within the Scott’s Run space alongside W.Va. 7.

The video is interspersed with scenes from the Scott’s Run neighborhood honest, which was held in Osage in September.

You’ll see somebody you possible know — even for those who don’t hail from the coal camp.

First, Aristotle, strolling into the body, together with his acoustic guitar:

“… Down on the finish of the highway in Osage

There’s a little shoe restore store

And if you will discover time to cease in

Al Anderson will discover time to speak …”

As in, Al Anderson, the shoe cobbler and area’s celebrated rock ‘n’ roll and R&B singer.

The performer who sang on phases from Hollywood, Fla., to Hollywood, Calif., and remains to be tearing it up with native gigs on the age of 86.

The person who spent 20 years or so in Washington, D.C. — and who was really there, on the mall and down from the Lincoln Memorial, listening when Martin Luther King Jr. informed America about his Dream.

A son of Osage who got here again residence within the Seventies, so he may look after his ailing father.

Bud Anderson, a coal miner, additionally ran a shoe restore store — which Al took over.

It’s nonetheless in operation.

“I can nonetheless hit these excessive notes,” stated Mr. Anderson’s son, who is understood right here simply as a lot for his neighborhood activism, as he’s his singing.

Jones’ household is of Osage, too. He nonetheless has household there.

“Hey, for those who’re gonna sing about Osage,” Jones stated, “it’s important to sing about Al. No manner round it. He’s Osage.”

On the peak of the coal years, Osage, and Scott’s Run, served as Mon County’s Melting Pot.

Everybody got here right here.

They had been seeking to dig out their buy of the American dream, from the coal seams that ran, lattice-like, underground.

Blacks, up from Alabama.

Italians, over from Calabria.

Russians on this hill, Greeks on that hill, and extra — “19 nationalities in all,” as Anderson likes to say.

It wasn’t straightforward, the outdated singer observes.

There have been inherent risks of coal mining, particularly in Nineteen Twenties when Osage was actually coming alongside.

And there was the grim, on-the-job, Jazz Age analogy fronted by the labor historians and security consultants associated to the state’s chief business — throughout these years when mining disasters occurred each few months.

Again then, these watchers stated, for those who had a selection of spending a day on a World Battle I battlefield, or a day in a typical West Virginia coal mine, stated selection would have really been straightforward.

That’s as a result of it will have been statistically safer, taking your possibilities up high.

Even with the bullets, bombs and mustard fuel.

It was that harmful.

Socially, it wasn’t a lot simpler, Anderson stated.

Racism may sting.

So may the fiscal tyranny of the corporate retailer.

However in Osage, there was a powerful pulse of one thing else.


And shared function.

Aristotle time-travels

“All of us acquired alongside,” Anderson will marvel, in his hepcat, jukebox rasp.

“And people of us who’re nonetheless right here proceed to get alongside.”

The video of the tune, in the meantime, will get together with archival, sepia-toned photographs of Osage from these days, blended in with the present-day camp.

There are scenes from the Scott’s Run Avenue Truthful, which is a fall staple in Osage.

The video shoot coincided with the homecoming occasion on function.

Picnic meals on paper plates and everyone’s grandkids and great-grandkids, enjoying collectively and having enjoyable.

Al, with a microphone on a makeshift bandstand.

Jones and Walker wished all of it to spool out by itself accord, identical to life does.

Anderson, possibly the camp’s most well-known resident and considered one of its oldest, too, shines in each scene, as Jones sings and picks his guitar:

“… ‘Trigger you’ll be able to study probably the most

By listening to these

Who’ve made probably the most out of time …”

“Osage is what occurs,” Jones stated, “once you let folks, be folks.”

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