Friday, March 21, 2008

Blast From The Past - Top Country Hits Of 1966

I had so much fun with 1963, I thought I'd stick with the sixties for awhile. I chose 1966, because it doesn't really hold any significance for me, so therefore, it'll be a surprise to see what top songs I can find for that year. And it's fun to be surprised. This isn't a class lecture, after all. It's supposed to be fun.

Here's someone I haven't had the pleasure of featuring yet on my blog, but she has always been one of my favorite singers. And boy, she really had a lot of hits in 1966! I guess that was her year.

CONNIE SMITH - NOBODY BUT A FOOL

Introduced by Bill "Endless Recitation" Anderson, here's Connie performing at the most uncool high school prom ever. "Who's going to be singing at the prom? Frankie Avalon?" "No, Bill Anderson and his Po' Boys." "Yay!"

As I mentioned, the Po' Boys are backing up Connie here. And they do a good job. I did think it was totally inappropriate, however, for the drummer to snicker, "Shake your BOO-tay!" Go back and watch. Read his lips. That's just rude in any decade.


MERLE HAGGARD - THE BOTTLE LET ME DOWN

Admittedly, this is a shaky amateur vido, but a shaky amateur video of Merle is still better than a professionally-produced video by any other artist.

I would advise the videographer (?), however, to practice panning a bit. It's kind of static and, well, not boring, really, but okay, boring. Not that Merle himself is boring. But it would have been nice to see the band, too.

Good tip for beginning guitar players....This song has only two chords in it. So, really easy to learn! Trust me. As a novice player myself (for about mumble mumble years), this song is easy to play!


JEANNIE SEELY - DON'T TOUCH ME

Wow ~ this was fun to watch! Boy, I haven't heard this song in a long time. I can't even find anything to make fun of in this video. Excellent performance; she looked good; she sang perfectly.

Jeannie wrote this song ~ she was a really good songwriter, having written hits for other artists as well.

It struck me, as I was watching, that this is the chord progression I use in 99.9% of my songs. Hey! No wonder I sound dated! Cool ~ now at least I know! If 1966 music ever comes back in style, I'm ready!


ROGER MILLER - ENGLAND SWINGS

Lest we forget Roger Miller, here's a live performance of one of his hits from 1966. I personally don't think anyone should forget Roger Miller, but you know how people's attention spans are nowadays.

I'm not sure what TV show this is from, but the teenage audience certainly was enthusiastic. Later, they all discovered The Who, and they subsequently hid their Roger Miller albums under their beds.

Ah, but in 1966, Roger was cool. I think he always was cool. He was a tremendous songwriter. Although, to sing one of his songs, one needed great breath control, because you will notice, there were very little pauses between words in his songs. He wrote a lot of words!

This is by no means my favorite Roger Miller song, but this was a hit.


THE STATLER BROTHERS - FLOWERS ON THE WALL

Hey, The Statler Brothers just got inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, didn't they? I'm asking, because my memory is really bad. And the sad part is, I think I blogged about that not too long ago.

So, this was their first hit, featuring the late Lew DeWitt. Look how young they look here! The brothers have now retired. So, they're now sitting on that white-painted front porch with the red gingham curtains, just rocking away. Well, all of them except Lew, I guess.

I always thought Phil had the toughest job of all the "brothers". Harold did the lowwww part, Don sang the lead, Lew (and later Jimmy Fortune) had the high harmony, and there was Phil, somewhere in the middle. Kudos, Phil! I know you haven't gotten much recognition over the years, but where would these songs be without your "somewhere in the middle" part?


BILL ANDERSON - I LOVE YOU DROPS

Ooh! My teeth are starting to hurt, watching this video! Hey, they can't all be winners. Apparently, someone liked this song, because it was one of the top hits of 1966.

In retrospect, Bill would vow never to write another song that had sssso many s's in it. Because it really sounds lame when you sing it: "I love you, dropsssss. I miss you, dropsssss." Sort of sounds lisp-ish.

I make fun of Bill (and his endless talking songs), but he was and is an excellent songwriter. Starting with "City Lights" for Ray Price, up until today, with "Give It Away" for George Strait, hey, I bet the guy is really rolling in dough!

And so what if someone played a practical joke on him, and told him he'd make an excellent singer. You have to laugh at yourself sometimes. And laughing is especially easy when you are rolling in dough.


JOHNNY CASH - THE ONE ON THE RIGHT IS ON THE LEFT

The first thing one notices about this video is that Johnny is stoned.

With that in mind, it is a wonder that he actually remembered all the words, and only slightly messed up one time.

And what the heck is he playing? A ukelele? Or just a mini-guitar? No matter.

This song is some kind of political protest song of some sort. I don't really get into those, but I guess it was clever. Not by any means one of my favorite JC songs, but my dad always liked this song, for some reason. But he was known to like quirky things.


BOBBY BARE - THE STREETS OF BALTIMORE

No quibbles here. Because Bobby Bare is cool.

You know, I can keep saying it and saying it until I'm blue in the face. But it's time to put Bobby in the Hall Of Fame. If you need more videos, there's plenty more where this one came from. I'm getting a little tired of repeating myself, but c'mon, powers-that-be! Do you have dementia? I can stop this tirade at any time. It's up to you. And by "you", I mean whoever the heck it is that votes for the Hall Of Fame. I shouldn't have to remind you. Geez. Don't you have an alphabetical list you refer to, or something? Morons.


LORETTA LYNN - YOU AIN'T WOMAN ENOUGH

You know, every time I see Loretta performing, all I can think of is Sissy Spacek in "Coal Miner's Daughter". I saw that movie (more than) a few times, and I liked it a lot. Just a tip, though. Mooney Lynn looks nothing like Tommy Lee Jones. I mean, if he did, who wouldn't have married him? (I mean, back when Tommy Lee Jones was hot.)

One of the funniest parts of that movie, for me, was when Mooney (or "Doolittle", as Loretta called him) took publicity photos of Lorett-y, and used the bedspread as a backdrop. "Put the backdrop back on the bed", Tommy Lee (Mooney) said, when the photo shoot was over. I thought that was funny. Sort of like how our band works now ~ improvising as we go. Okay, maybe it was just funny to me.

I remember seeing Loretta (the real Loretta) in concert at Panther Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, when I was just a young'n. It was pretty cool. This was a place where you had to bring in your own booze, but you could buy "mix" there. Well, of course, I wasn't drinking or anything.......I just mean, this is what I saw.

Yikes. Anyway, I did get Loretty's autograph, and I remember telling my mom that it looked like she signed it, "Buffalo Lynn". She had terrible handwriting. But I guess when you get married at age 13, you probably miss the penmanship class at school.


So, to sum up 1966, did you know that the CMA awards were not presented until 1967? I didn't know that. However, the Grammy awards for that year included:

  • Best Country & Western Vocal Performance, Female -- "Queen of the House," Jody Miller.
  • Best Country and Western Vocal Performance, Male -- "King Of The Road", Roger Miller
  • Best Country & Western Single -- "King of the Road," Roger Miller.
  • Best Country Song -- "King of the Road," Roger Miller
  • Best Country & Western Album -- The Return of Roger Miller, Roger Miller
  • Best New Country & Western Artist -- Statler Brothers
So, it looks like it was a "Miller" year pretty much all around. Notice how they call it, "Country & Western". How quaint.

And also notice how, "Queen Of The House" was simply a ripoff of "King Of The Road"? I mean, nothing against Jody Miller, but I think there had to be other records more deserving. Well, the Grammys were still learning about "country & western" music back then.

And, for my usual disclaimer, there were several hit songs from 1966 that were unavailable on YouTube. I don't know for sure, but I'm thinking, "Almost Persuaded" was probably the top song of that year (by David Houston, by the way), but this one is nowhere to be found, video-wise.

So, I'll leave you with this one:

BUCK OWENS & THE BUCKAROOS - OPEN UP YOUR HEART


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