In New Orleans, “buckjumping” is another name for second-lining (in Memphis, it refers to “gangsta walking”), but the term “buckjump” seems to have masculine connotations, and by some accounts, in the earlier days of Black New Orleans culture, it was not common for women to second-line. So, when a group of women started a social aid and pleasure club, they named it the Lady Buckjumpers. Nowadays, they have a men’s auxiliary called the Male Buckjumpers, and their uptown New Orleans parade in November featured two brass bands, the Stooges and the Rebirth, and was one of the largest second-lines I have ever seen. Despite being the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the weather was warm and sunny, and there was a decent crowd at the beginning of the parade route, and of course second-lines pick up participants as they proceed. Here and there, exuberant dancers jumped up on power boxes, roofs, porches, and even graves as we passed by a cemetery, while others slammed the street signs as hard as they could, a tradition whose rationale has been lost to time. At each stop along the route, the crowd seemed to grow larger, and at one of them, the Rebirth Brass Band didn’t take the break, but rather gathered in a circle and played a haunting rendition of “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” The act seemed a ritual, probably in honor of fallen musicians. My homeboy Darren from the TBC Brass Band had come with me, and fortunately, he had left his car at one end of the parade, and I had left mine at the other, as this was one of those second-lines that ended several miles away from where it started. At the end of it, I was thoroughly tired, but the pleasant sort of tired, for nobody can really leave a second-line unhappy.
When In Doubt, Second-Line (via WWOZ)
“When in doubt, Second-Line”
The 2012 seasons for the Levitt Shell in Memphis’ Overton Park opened with the Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans. The youthful band brings a hip-hop street edge to traditional New Orleans brass-band music, and there are enough NOLA residents in Memphis that there was soon a small group of second-liners in front of the stage, decked out in full regalia, complete with decorated umbrellas in true New Orleans style. They were just as amazing here in Memphis as they were in Oxford, MS in February. If you missed them, keep up with them at http://www.stoogesmusicgroup.com/ or like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stoogesbrassbandpage. They play most Thursdays at the Hi-Ho Lounge on North Claiborne Avenue in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans, and believe me, it’s worth the drive to see them there.