1968 was the first year that the CMA awards were televised; on CBS, I think.
I remember these awards, for their low point in cutting off Bob Wills, as he was starting to make his speech, after being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He got to the stage, opened his mouth to speak, and suddenly we were "joining our regularly scheduled news broadcast, already in progress."
Even at my young age, I knew that was just rude. And disrespectful.
I don't care who you are or how young you may be. If you like George Strait, even a little bit (?), you need to know about Bob Wills. Watch this:
So, Bob Wills was disrespected in 1968. Hold on. It gets worse.
SONG OF THE YEAR
Honey - recorded by Bobby Goldsboro, written by Bobby Russell
Okay, it's a difficult choice, but I would have to say that this is my MOST HATED SONG OF ALL TIME.
Shall we count the ways in which this song is PUTRID? Sappy, yes. But more than that. Words really cannot describe. Suffice it to say that I was SO GLAD that Honey hit that tree with her car. Had she not, I would have had to take matters into my own hands. Honey was a bimbo. She deserved to die. I mean, if you can't even drive your car to the market without ramming into a tree, then your existence is some stupid freak of nature, and yet, some clueless poor sap is now SINGING about you and eulogizing your rank stupidity, and we all have to suffer the consequences.
But knowing Bobby Goldsboro, he also loved his bowl of Rice Krispies (remember the story told, ad nauseum, about how he stepped on a Rice Krispie kernel, and hurt his foot? I think he told Merv, Johnny, Joey, and any local-cable access guy who would listen about his stupid Rice Krispie incident, and it didn't even have a punch line!)
So now, Bobby's mourning the loss of his Rice Krispies, which, sadly had more intelligence in their individual kernels than HONEY had in her vast wasteland of a brain pan.
Moving on (while monitoring my blood pressure), let's look at the:
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Riley
This song was written by Tom T. Hall, so basically any connection to this song has to be limited to someone with a middle initial prominently displayed.
I don't have any quibbles with this song, except for the fact that it was played over and over and over....and over.
This style of song would never make it nowadays. It really is all verses. There's no chorus. Certainly there's no bridge. Tom was lucky that he was writing at a time when one didn't need to conform to a standard pattern of songwriting. He would just be poor and working at a 7-11, moaning about the fact that nobody will listen to his songs. Join the club, Tom.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash
Again, not to come off as being a chronic bitcher, but how many damn times do we need to hear this song? Yea, I know. Key of E. I played it, too. Didn't you? Didn't everyone?
Again, do you think in your wildest dreams that a song like this would make it nowadays? Ha! (as Johnny would say). You'd be patted on the head and sent off on your way back to your factory job, shame nipping at your heels. You'd join old Tom T. Hall, working at the 7-11 and bitching about how A&R guys have no taste; no taste at all, in music.
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Whew! Something I can get behind, finally! What can I say about Tammy Wynette? I am just in awe of her talent. I miss Tammy. We'll not see the likes of Tammy again, well, probably never. Like Patsy, someone like Tammy comes along once in, what, 50 years?
Here's the song that probably won her the award in 1968:
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
This single was released in 1967, so it probably played a major role in Glen winning the male vocalist award in 1968. It was written by John Hartford.
I like this one. I know that Glen tended to record Jimmy Webb songs, and I like some of those. But this is just a nice, folky kind of song (that has a lot of verses, if you study it) and it has a banjo! And didn't Glen use this as his theme song for his show on CBS? So, I guess he liked it, too.
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton
Okay, I wouldn't technically call Porter and Dolly a "group", but there wasn't a "duo" category back then, so there you go.
Porter and Dolly went on to win this award countless times, deservedly so. Their major competition, at least for awhile, was Conway and Loretta, so I think there might have been some knock-down, drag-out fights in the alley of the Ryman Auditorium, over who was the better duo. But alas, Conway didn't want to muss up his oily slicked-back "coiff", so Porter won.
Here's a 1967 song, that probably garnered this duo their first (of many) awards:
COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR
Okay, it's maybe an acquired taste. Maybe you had to be there. But I frankly find Ben Colder (Sheb Wooley) funny. "Ben Colder here". She said, "It ain't been no colder here than anyplace else".
What Ben (Sheb) did was take-off's on popular songs, in a drunken, debauched kind of way. So here's "Almost Persuaded # 2 1/2":
The INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR and INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR repeated from 1967: Chet Atkins and The Buckaroos. Take a look back at my previous post to see a sampling of their wonderful performances.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Yes, Glen was at his peak in 1968. I like Glen better now than I did back then. It was, to be honest, a stretch to call what he was doing "country". Jimmy Webb is a wildly successful songwriter, and I love his song, "Galveston". I just don't really like this one. But it put Glen in the catbird seat, and made him entertainer of the year for 1968.
Are we having fun yet? I am. I like this retrospective of the CMA awards, year by year.
And if 1968 sucked, and you know it did, just hold on. It starts to get better, as the years go by.