Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Miss Country Music

It was time to put in a different CD in the player in my truck. I think I got over my Marilyn Manson phase, especially after Marilyn blew one of my speakers. Lately I’ve been driving and flipping between Au Revoir Simone and Zappa’s classic, “Cruising with Rubin and The Jets.”

I dusted off a CD cover I found under the seat of a CD I reviewed very positively last year, Miranda Lambert’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It played for a moment and I was placed back to what I was doing last July when I couldn’t remove this CD from my player. It was haying and Rodeo season. I was consumed with her music, but by mid August I’d found another musical love.

While listening to Miranda again, my only criticism came to mind again and that is how loud and rock-like Country music has become. I thought back to the early 70s when Country music was starting to change. Back then it was only important to have nice tune with some heart-felt or catchy lyrics. A good Country song didn’t have guitar solos, though it may have had some interesting licks, but they never over-powered the song.

My mind was immediately taken back to a 1972 album by Bobby Bare. It was called Lullabies, Legends and Lies. It was a double album of songs that were written by Shel Silverstein. To say the least, it was a most remarkable collection that confirmed that Shel may have possibly been one of the top ten lyricists on the 20th Century.

There were songs that covered vast landscapes of rural life and life on the road. Probably my favorite was an eight minute song called Rosalie’s Good Eats Café. Originally this song came from a poem that Silverstein published in Playboy. It is a long poem of which the song uses less than half of the lyrics.

Yeah, I know I’m going to get some shit from some of you after all I’ve written about my dislike for poetry, but this is really good stuff and not that shitty Fisher Poet crap.

If you have some time check out the link, and a funny note for all you Lesbian readers, the poem is hosted on ihatemen.com

Rosalie's Good Eats Cafe

Anyway, through Bobby Bare, Silverstein’s songs became a touchstone of Country music for me. Silverstein’s raspy voice was never meant for main-stream acceptance or air-play for that matter. We who appreciate the old time Country sound are fortunate the two of them worked so well together.


Blogger Donna said...

I have that song on my computer. As well as anything Bobby Bare ever had on the charts.

It's the old country music Cliff and I enjoy; he keeps his XM radio on one station: Willie's Place.

When we're at Branson without our grandchildren, we go see either Moe Bandy or Mickey Gilley.

4:51 AM  
Anonymous McGee said...

Saw Bobby not too long ago on a TV program on RFD-TV on a program called Mid-West Country.

Call it neing on the downslide if you wish but he still has the magic and was just as entertaining as ever.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I checked out the "poem." Great story, great slice of life piece.
My enjoyment of country music has always been a bit of a surprise to me (and my family). But there's too much cross-over today. The oldies are best.

5:28 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

I adore old county AND western. Love old Willy. And I especially enjoy painting during my favorite local radio program, the Country Swing show late Sunday afternoons on KMUN !!!!!

5:57 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, I have this strange idea about Branson, like it is a Brigadoon from 40 years ago. I'd like to visit it someday.

Patrick, RFD-TV is a gold mine. I've spent some time on the phone with its owner, Patrick Gottsch, over a show that me and an associate were working on. Interesting and talkative guy. Sometimes it is even a bit of a freak show channel like when they have that Dutch Oven guy or the Big Joe Polka show. Though Jean Shepherd called Polka the Aerobics of the Midwest. RFD-TV is a gem.

Yes, Beth. way too much crossover. I hope there will one day be a retro country movement.

Auntie, the funny thing about the Country Swing show is they never have any Swing. One week a few years back they had a substitute host who made the show a real Country Swing show but that was only one day in its entire history.

8:19 AM  
Blogger weese said...

my god that is a long poem.
but its fabulous.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

I've always loved "A Boy Named Sue;" think I was about fifteen when I learned that Shel Silverstein wrote that one, too. No surprise to me - he is among my very favorite poets. He does away with the idea that poetry has to be sweet or filled with airy verse - he's all earthy fun.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Chantel said...

You should check out Jewell's new country album. Its traditional and quiet. I don't mind it at all and I don't like country all that much.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to the now defunct radio station KVAS, Astoria used to be a great town to listen to country in. Other than a little local news and weather, C&W was all they played back in the 60s and 70s...local A.M radio was the only entertainment available for the local fishing fleet when at sea and this writer remembers the days and nights of listening to the the sad songs of permanently broken hearts, cheatin' and love gone wrong on the deck speakers of many a boat.

Hey, speaking of C@W, here's a little country ditty from years ago, sung for you by a young fella from up there in that Longview Washington country. It's about, oddly enough, the men and their work in Astoria, and was a real popular tune on the radio in a byegone era around clatsop county...now, all you nice folks gotta do is cut and paste this into your browser and download the tune and play it on your player:


12:02 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Weese, his other stuff is just as engaging.

Mel, you're too young for that song.

Chantel, doesn't she yodel on that collection?

Anon, Damn that was an interesting tune. Thanks for sharing. Who was the singer/group? What year? I love it when folks with a local memory join in here. Thanks again.

12:33 PM  
Blogger pril said...

guy who writes, have you heard any Hank 3? Some of his stuff is sort of hit and miss, but I recently received a video thing he did of a Doc Boggs song that was about as old-timey country as it gets. It may be available on youtube.. i don't know what happened to the copy i had. I have been known to throw in a scruggs tune between the Sepultura and Leningrad Cowboys on my show :P

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings. I have often thought that country and western began to go rock and roll with that guy on hee-haw. The guy with the red white and blue guitar!

Further more, on behalf of my ancestors who, for many generations lived, loved and worked on the Greek isle of Lesbos, we thank you for the recomendation and the link to this poem.

9:46 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I'll check it out, Pril.

Anon, Roy Clark? Yes he did fuse Country into something else, though I think the seeds country-rock fusion started a bit earlier with rock-a-billy artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis then Walon Jennings and the deal was sealed with Hank Williams Jr. It was akin to when Bob Dylan brought an electric guitar to the Newport Folk Festival. It's hard to get those horses back into the barn.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

For the Good Times - Ray Price
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden - Lynn Anderson
Snowbird - Anne Murray
Alabama's first album
Patsy Cline

Back then, Mac Davis wasn't country, but him.

9:30 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Pril, Hank 3 is great!

12:51 PM  

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