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Jack Brown: Music

Beach Boulevard (live)

(Jack Brown)
June 26, 2008
Jack Brown -- music and lyrics
Inspired by Gerry Vierling, a childhood friend killed in Hurricane Katrina's storm surge in Mississippi; other verses taken from the pages of the Sun-Herald newspaper, Biloxi/Gulfport MS.
© Jack Brown

It’s been thirty years since last I saw Jerry
On a hot, sweaty June afternoon.
A banana seat pilot, leaving woes far behind
Smiling like the man in the moon.
I remembered that day just this morning and I prayed
That his years in between weren’t as hard
When I read in the news that he’ll never go cruisin’ again
Down Beach Boulevard.

Takes me back to the days when this was a place
Coming back from a terrible blow.
But through hard work, cold Barq’s, and a little blind luck
Folks made it a great place to grow.
They say lightning never strikes twice in a lifetime
But I was shot straight through the heart
When the surf and the sound came crashin’ on down
And rolled over Beach Boulevard

I remember the Mardi Gras rolling down the wide avenue
With my kid brother up on my shoulders catching beads and dubloons.
The Horn Island mornings, the New Orleans sunsets,
The night rides in Daddy’s old car.
That was my childhood and those were my memories
Strewn up and down Beach Boulevard.

Deborah wrote letters, Stanley loved fishing,
Roland – he spoke quiet truth.
Sister raised okra, Marge was a WAC
A long time ago in her youth.
Anna went dancing whenever she could, Scott enjoyed watching NASCAR.
And Terry trapped crabs off the pilings and piers
That used to line Beach Boulevard.

Mrs. Esther still sang in the First Baptist choir.
Old Turkey Neck – he watched worlds go by.
And people loved Danny, the Point Cadet hermit,
Though no one could quite tell you why.
Paul painted pictures, Emma fed possums,
And Tommy pulled slots and played cards.
Just memories and names are all that remains
Of so many from Beach Boulevard.

I remember the churches and the mom-and-pop stores and motels.
The great big old houses and small and in-between ones as well.
Well, I’d seen all the photos and I’d stared at the TV
But now my whole soul’s torn apart,
Since I walked on the stairs leading up to nowhere –
Yes, I’ve been to Beach Boulevard.

McElroy’s, Spiders, the Firedog, the Yacht Club,
Daydreams, the Blow-Fly and more.
These are the places I’ll fondly recall
While gazing out over the shore.
But first I’ll remember my old buddy Jerry –
His kindness, his patience, his heart.
And how he could sail a Frisbee all the way to the water
While standing on Beach Boulevard.