I bought a satellite radio system…Sirius…to listen to while I deliver the mail.

I started out listening to the news…NPR, etc….but now I listen to a channel called “Soul Town” almost exclusively.

I guess I’d rather funk stuff up than educate myself.

Shorty+Long+shortyI’d been hearing a song by this guy, Shorty Long, play occasionally…but until I heard some of the backstory, he really didn’t capture my imagination.

He died when he was 29 in a boating accident on the Detroit River…trying to save a friend.

He was one of two…the other being Smokey Robinson…artists on the Motown label who was allowed to produce himself.

Here’s one of his songs….

“Function at the Junction” Shorty Long

There’s an interesting story here.

Shorty Long isn’t a new favorite…but I want to know what this guy’s life was all about.

He had a short career…limited success…a couple of hits that were really pretty minor…and then he was gone.

I’ve never heard many people talking about Shorty Long.

Here’s a hit that he had that was one of the bigger ones…

“Here Comes the Judge” Shorty Long

Kind of a novelty song…came out when Flip Wilson was popularizing the catch-phrase…that was one of the bigger hits that Shorty had during his career.

It’s that “died trying to save his friend” mention that caught my attention.

Lots of people die.

Some die tragically.

There are a lot of forgotten artists out there, too. I can’t even remember them all.

There’s a lot of them, though.

But what about Shorty? He’s out having a good time on the river, something happens…and he dies trying to save his buddy.

What about Shorty? There is a story here that deserves to be told.

Here’s another one of his songs that Mitch Ryder redid at a faster tempo and had a hit with later…you might recognize this one.

Shorty was the first to do it…

“Devil With the Blue Dress” Shorty Long


I didn’t even know who Shorty Long was before I heard “Function at the Junction” on the radio.

I know a little about him now….but not much.

Here’s one more song…and then I’ll go…

“Lillie of the Valley” Shorty Long

This is a story that deserves some investigation.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

Comments are closed.