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Tommy1

Anyone form Philadelphia here?

Posted (edited)

Hi soul sourcers

I’m writing a book where I use lyrics from soul 45s, and Tony Clarkes’ “Poor Boy”, on Chess records, is one of them. He’s using the word “society hill” and I was sure it was just an metaphor for the finer part of a town, but searching for it, I found out that it was (might be?) a famous neighborhood in Center City Philadelphia, PA. So, what do you think, is he singing about Philadelphia? Is there a “valley by an old steel mill” close to Center City?

I’d appreciate any help!

“You can look, but brother don’t you touch/ Go ahead and care, it can’t matter very much/ you’re just a poor boy, and she’s such a wealthy girl/ She’s got money, diamonds and pearls/ And all you got are dreams that may not come true/ You’re just a poor boy, a fellow ….?/ She stays way up on society hill/ You live in a valley by an old steel mill, and never will your lips kiss/ That’s one thought you may as well dismiss/ Cause you’re from a neighborhood where your kind considered no good, you’re just a poor boy”

Edited by Tommy1

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From Wikipedia:

Quote

Society Hill is a historic neighborhood in Center City Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a population of 6,215 as of the 2010 United States Census. Settled in the early 1680s, Society Hill is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Philadelphia. After urban decay developed between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an urban renewal program began in the 1950s, restoring the area and its many historic buildings.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_Hill

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there was an area from 11th Street to Sharpsburg along the Allhegeny River that had lots of Steel Mills/plants, that mainly just faded away in the 60's. They called it Steel Mill Row. for the purposes of your book i would follow this line of enquiry.

[I only know because i did P.A. music research for a different project].

hope it helps

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27 minutes ago, Kenb said:

there was an area from 11th Street to Sharpsburg along the Allhegeny River that had lots of Steel Mills/plants, that mainly just faded away in the 60's. They called it Steel Mill Row. for the purposes of your book i would follow this line of enquiry.

[I only know because i did P.A. music research for a different project].

hope it helps

Thanks a lot Kenb, it answers my question! 
So even if the 45 is released on a Chicago label, the "story" is from Philadelphia

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I live in philly, in my opinion he's probably not singing about philly. The society hill neighborhood has been around since we were a british colony but no steel mills or hills there. Alleghany river is in Pittsburgh which does/did have many steel mills. hope that helps

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On 30/06/2020 at 05:30, ez said:

I live in philly, in my opinion he's probably not singing about philly. The society hill neighborhood has been around since we were a british colony but no steel mills or hills there. Alleghany river is in Pittsburgh which does/did have many steel mills. hope that helps

Thanks a lot Ez! So then you might agree that “society hill” is just a metaphor for the finer part of a town? And maybe he used "steel mill" cos it fits? 

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"Society Hill" is an American metaphor for the place where the rich (high-falutin') people live.  That song is more likely to be about Pittsburgh than Philadelphia.  It's not about Chicago because that city is perfectly flat.  Not even a mole hill there.  In Chicago, the singer would be talking about "the billionaires on Lake Shore Drive".

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13 hours ago, Robbk said:

"Society Hill" is an American metaphor for the place where the rich (high-falutin') people live.  That song is more likely to be about Pittsburgh than Philadelphia.  It's not about Chicago because that city is perfectly flat.  Not even a mole hill there.  In Chicago, the singer would be talking about "the billionaires on Lake Shore Drive".

Thanks Robbk, that's what I thought!

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Tommy , the "house on the hill" is mentioned in Larry Williams - I am the one, as Robb said "a metaphor for where the rich live".

Ste.

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On 08/07/2020 at 14:27, Widnes63 said:

Tommy , the "house on the hill" is mentioned in Larry Williams - I am the one, as Robb said "a metaphor for where the rich live".

Ste.

Thanks for the tip Ste. that was a new Larry Williams tune for me!

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