1952 Vincent Black Lightning – the novel?

Vincent Black Lightning the novel, seriously?

Vincent Black Lightning the novel, seriously?

Ok, so we think it might be a bit of stretch but according to the Bluegrass blog everyone’s favorite Richard Thompson song is now a novel. Thats right, Vincent Black Lightning 1952 – the novel, you know a book-like thing filled with words, how twentieth century right?

Now, I will be the first to admidt that not only has my band played the Del Mccoury version more than once, I even penned a song called Red Molly’s Ride to function as a sequel to the story . I’ll let you imagine the details but it involved Red Molly triumphantly riding off into the sunset on young James’ prized bike. However it never made into my band’s repertoire, in fact I was bit embarrassed to even bring it up at practice, for fear of being thrown out of the band and made to play Spinal Tap’s mandolin break for stonehendge as penance. (Oh – how they danced)

As cheesy and low brow as I should like to think of it, I might have to read it. After all Black Lightnings are cool motorcycles and the story is fairly compelling. Although sometimes I think the beauty of folk tales such as this, is their unyielding simplicity and complete lack of detail. After all, if we were forced to work out all the logistical details of a shotgun-wounded dying man reaching his lover to hand over the keys, I think some of the romance would be lost. Sometimes the spaces and holes left by simple poetry is more beautiful that the overflowing minutia of a novel.

“Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing in side, come down, Red Molly to his dying bed side.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.

And for the record Rob McCoury’s shotgun sound effect during that line was a direct quote from Sonny Osborne…

2 thoughts on “1952 Vincent Black Lightning – the novel?

  1. I hope you will come visit my blog. I write physician bluegrass fiction, and the mandolin is my specialty. My book, ‘The Mandolin Case,’ is due out in 2010.


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