The Falcons are preparing for the playoffs. This we know. What we also know: No playoff run is complete without musical accompaniment.
People have written songs — here’s one from 1979, suggested by famous reader Ted Striker via the invaluable Atlanta Time Machine – regarding the Falcons in the past, but these 13-3 Birds would seem to warrant an artistic flourish of their own. Into the breach, dear friends, steps Roger “Hurricane” Wilson of Kennesaw.
Mr. Wilson — I’d feel presumptuous calling him Hurricane, though he encourages the familiarity — is a bluesman of such note that his Web site includes testimonial quotes from Les Paul, who not only played guitar but invented several, and Hubert Sumlin. (If you’ve never heard of Hubert Sumlin, your life is incomplete. I advise you to stop reading this and click on his Wikipedia bio. Suffice it to say that Mr. Sumlin was the man behind the man named Chester Burnett and more famously nicknamed Howlin’ Wolf. But I digress.)
Hurricane — OK, I’m being presumptuous — is a Falcons fan from way back. He grew up in Atlanta. In a previous career he worked in the WGST and WSB booths for Falcons radio broadcasts in the ’80s. (First Brad Nessler and then Larry Munson were the voices of the Falcons when Wilson was in the background.) He also worked as a producer at CNN.
As to music: Hurricane — this according to his AllMusic bio — saw the Allman Brothers Band when Duane was still playing lead. (Another digression: I just read Randy Poe’s biography of the great squalling slideman, “Skydog: The Duane Allman Story,” and recommend it highly.) Duly inspired, Wilson picked up an axe and hasn’t let go. He has written about music, taught guitar and is now a full-time recording and touring musician.
Like all recording musicians, Hurricane pays the occasional visit to Nashville. Driving up this week, he was moved to write a song about his favorite NFL team. “Wrote it on the clipboard I keep in the next seat,” he said Friday morning. “Cut it when we got to the studio.” Hurricane’s motto: Seize the day, and also the clipboard.
(Another musical tangent: Legend holds that Sky Saxon, leader of the immortal garage band The Seeds, wrote the classic song “Pushin’ Too Hard” while waiting in the car for his girlfriend to finish grocery shopping. But the car, as best as anyone has discerned, wasn’t in motion at the time.)
Back to Hurricane: His song is entitled “Go Falcons Go!” and differs from the regrettable “Super Bowl Shuffle” foisted on the American public by the 1985 Bears in that it makes no attempt to be trendy. Hurricane’s effort is a straight-ahead blues-rocker that contains unadorned lyrics, with one exception: In Verse 2, Wilson gives a backhand to the Dirty Bird dance craze.
Sings Hurricane: “Don’t make the same mistakes/They made in ‘98/Leave that ol’ Dirty Bird alone.”
Then: “Keep your eye on the ball/And let the victories say it all/Be the best since Tommy Nobis played.”
Wilson believes the Dirty Bird, for all its first-blush charm, wound up hurting the Falcons a dozen years ago. “The Dirty Bird distracted everybody,” he said. “Guys were doing it in the end zone. The last thing I wanted to be [with this song] was a distraction. This team has kind of been free of schmaltz and pomp and circumstance.”
And it has. But still it needs a song. Hurricane — so dubbed because a friend suggested a professional musician required a more memorable handle than “Roger Wilson,” and “Hurricane” was the first good nickname to occur — has offered his take. I’d love to include the Mp3, but standards and practices currently preclude me from embedding it. (We’re working on getting a waiver.) Failing that, I direct you to the MySpace page of Roger “Hurricane” Wilson. It’s the first song in his media player. Enjoy.
Update: Mr. Wilson informs me that “Go Falcons Go!” is available for personal download. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Oh, as Lt. Columbo would say, one more thing: Hurricane can indeed play guitar. You don’t have to take Hubert Sumlin’s word for it. Just listen to the break in “Go Falcons Go!”
Oh, and one more thing: If you have a hankering to hear the old (meaning ancient) Falcons fight song — “Fly High Falcons” — your wish, courtesy of YouTube, has been granted.
By Mark Bradley