Hollie Farris and the Senath Light

I recently received an email from Ben Brogdon, a long-time radio guy (KLCN, Blytheville, AR) who stumbled across one of my websites:

“I Googled my old hometown radio station, KLCN, Blytheville, AR, and found a link to your Early Days At KBOA site. I sat and read every word of it, looked at every picture, and finally went to bed at 6am.”

Ben is a musician at Dollywood and played in a jazz band in college with Wendell Crow (Sheryl’s daddy). We bounced emails back and forth for a few days before he brought up “the Senath Light.” This is (was) a well-known paranormal phenomenon (that I never witnessed).

“Actually, I never saw the light. Oh, we’d drive up from Jonesboro when I was living there playing in bands, working at radio stations, and attending class on occasion, and we’d sit patiently, not making a sound, those who smoked wanting a cigarette REALLY bad, and wait, but it never came out while I was there.

Others told me they had seen it, though. One of my jazz mates at school, Hollie Farris, a trumpet player who has the distinction of being the only white musician James Brown has ever had, and who QUIT a gig with Steve Winwood to go back with JB after he got out of prison, DID stand under that tree in the middle of the road and supposedly got KNOCKED CLEAN OUT COLD by the light hitting him in the head, which most assuredly changed his life and his thinking process from that moment on.

I also worked with a piano player from Caruthersville who could talk to spirits, and was told that he had actually TALKED to the light, which surprised me, since we all knew if you made a sound, it would disappear. BUT, having him sit in my house and tell me it was inhabited by spirits, which I had suspected, and then say once when we were watching a storm that it would kill 35 people, and it DID kill 34, I somehow believe he may have talked to the light.”

Why do I blog? So I can “meet” people that played with Holly Farris, the only white musician to play with James Brown.

11 thoughts on “Hollie Farris and the Senath Light

  1. I was the bass player for that band back then..I’m sure i meet you to back then.i still talk to Hollie from time to time

  2. Joe Poff was a white guy from Trumann Ar. that played tenor sax…a very good player…he played with James also at one point for a few years…he past away a few years ago…

  3. Never saw the Senath light myself. Didn’t know about your experience either. Didn’t Joe Poff play with JB for a while? Seems I remember he was a white boy.

  4. From June, 2006 Rolling Stone article: Being James Brown
    “The band is three guitarists and one bassist and three horn players and two percussionists — a drummer in the soundproof booth and a conga player in the central room. They’re led by Hollie Farris, a trim, fiftyish, white trumpeter with a blond mustache and the gentle, acutely Midwestern demeanor of an accountant or middle manager, yet with the enduring humor of a lifelong sideman; a hipster’s tolerance. Hollie now pushes the younger guitarists as they hone the changes in “Hold On, I’m A-Comin’.” Howard is recording the whole band simultaneously; this method of recording “live in the studio” is no longer how things are generally done. Hollie also sings to mark the vocal line, in a faint but endearing voice.”

  5. i have saw the light lots of diffeent times in my life. you can’t explain it and it isn’t car lights from 412. because it will go over your car and reappear on that side where 412 does not pass by on that side. you can see it on clear nights and rainy nights if you park and blink your lights three times and wait, also be quiet. there is different stories of the light but it is there to this day.

  6. I used to date Holly Ferris – has anyone found him – would love to get his email. Can someone help me. We met when he played with a band called Easy in Ft. Walton Beach FLA – before JB

  7. i’m an old friend of holly ferris’, we met before he played with jb, he was touring with a bar band that played covers, this would be mid-late ’70’s….i last saw holly at a jb concert in chicago, 1982, he arranged front row seats for my then boyfriend and myself and also introduced us to james backstage, who had his hair up in big, pink rollers, it was a little startling…i would love to catch up with holly….do you have any current information on him?…. thanks much, abby

  8. Hell, I’m a SE Missouri boy, too. Born in Delta Hospital in Sikeston. Dad’s from New Madrid, Mom from Malden.

  9. Hey, we have the spook light over by Joplin. You guys on the other side of the state can’t have one also. If so, then you have to take Joplin in trade for Sikeston.

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