Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
One of the things that my dad told me, a long time ago, when we were walking through the Herbert Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa, was to pay attention to all of this stuff because history always repeats itself. Now, my old man's said a lot of stuff that has gone in one ear and out the other, but this one stuff with me when I was younger and it's odd that it's something that I can still recall, all these many years ago. It comes to mind today though, in writing about Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin for the third time. On the news, this morning, were the reports of three different people, all in different places in Kansas City, Missouri, coming forward, claiming to have seen a man holding a baby in a diaper on or around the day of the disappearance of a little baby girl more than three weeks ago now. The story - albeit one with many different characteristics - can't help but jog the memories of Missourians who remember the disappearance of three Springfield, Mo., women nearly 20 years ago. The baby was abducted without a trace and the same went for Stacy McCall, Sherrill Levitt and Suzanne Streeter who disappeared one summer night in 1992 without any sign of struggle, without a thing missing from the house, with their purses and clothing still there and their cars in the driveway. It's been a baffling 19 years for those three families and the same for the family of this little baby girl. These three Missouri women have never been found and SSLYBY are performing their own cold case work to help get this case solved, once and for all, for their hometown. Philip Dickey, one of the band's two lead singers and songwriters, wrote "Yellow Missing Signs," with the hopes that it would renew public awareness of the case and perhaps shed some new light on the particulars of the kidnapping. On the day of this taping, he wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the photos of the Springfield Three, unbuttoning his polo shirt as much as he could to expose it from beneath as he performed this song down the street, later in the evening. There's a video that he sent from back in 1992 of McCall's parents with all kinds of heartbreaking lines, including one where she commented that the uncertainty of her daughter's whereabouts was what was so horrible. She thought about how her daughter was such a put-together and proud 18-year-old, who didn't dare leave the house without her make-up, wanting to always look proper. She wondered if her daughter had eaten anything today saying that it was almost impossible for her to eat herself, wondering such a thing - the food just getting caught in her throat as she tried not to cry while chewing and swallowing. Not that Dickey, John Robert Cardwell, Jonathan James and Will Knauer gravitate toward tales of such heartbreak all the time, but the sheer humanness of this woman in this video, of her and her mostly silent and devastated husband valiantly going around to supermarkets to ask that they post their Xeroxed missing signs, is something that Boris Yeltsin music has always been rooted in. It's there in the songs about house fires, car crashes, old department stores and so many things that are central to the place where the majority of them grew up. They've seen the city change as they've aged. They've seen the people they've known their whole lives changes, features blur and hands get either colder and frailer or warmer and stronger. They've continued to believe in the spirit of the soul and what makes a person resilient, what makes a person purposely get their heart rate up and their breath trembling with excitement. They sing about the peculiarities of typical living -- of trying not to disappear or being forgotten. They sing about what it means to keep going, to choke down that food, to care about the little things and to try and see all of the sunsets that you're supposed to see with the time you have.