Hey, are you still with me? I'm still here, counting down the CMA awards for each year. You thought I'd give up by now, didn't you? Ha! I haven't! Hey, I'm going to at least get through the seventies. And who knows? Maybe I'll even go on to the eighties!
What can one say about 1977? I don't know. I barely remember it myself. I guess I was busy changing diapers and being pregnant. That kind of takes your mind off music.
I think at that time I still had the console stereo (with the velvet inserts) that I'd been given by my parents. I'm thinking we moved up to the Bang & Olufsen sometime in 1979. On credit.
So, if you asked me to recall who actually were the big country music stars in 1977, I honestly couldn't have told you. Of course, I've looked now, so I know. The years kind of ran together for me around that time.
The sort of nice thing about that time period was that an artist could be famous for "awhile" before that fame was snatched away from them and bestowed upon the newest "thing". Unlike now. "Oh, Keith Urban? He's so 2007." At least in the seventies, they gave people a couple or three years.
Thus, some of the award winners were "repeats" from previous years. Such as:
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Statler Brothers
INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
There was a new contender, however, for VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR, which was sort of refreshing, after several years of Porter & Dolly and Conway & Loretta.
Jumping on the bandwagon of "duet singing" this year were good old Jim Ed Brown (of the Browns) and his partner Helen Cornelius.
Remember this one?
Oh sure. They're singing in the old folks' home. And they're a bit long in the tooth to be worrying about unintended pregnancy. But still. You gotta admit, Jim Ed and Helen can still sing it. I always liked this song. It was kind of a throwback to those fifties pop ditties, albeit with a completely different subject matter.
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Hey, this song was all over the radio in 1977. In fact, it was so "all over the radio" that I don't really care to hear it ever again.
That said, it was certainly a big hit for Crystal (of the long, long, flowing locks). Crystal (nee Brenda Webb) is, of course, Loretta Lynn's kid sister. So, that did help her get a recording contract. But she pulled her own weight, at least with this song. But you've gotta admit, Crystal was mostly famous for her really, really long hair. Which is a weird thing to be famous for, when you think about it.
And it kind of put her in a bind, I would think. Even if she wanted to go with the latest "do", it would be extremely bad publicity for her. I don't think she ever had the option of cutting her hair into a "shag". And just think of the extra weight she was carrying around. Yea, when she was 21, it was no big deal. But now she's old and arthritic, and she's still hauling that hair around. Kind of a burden.
Anyway, here's a performance by Crystal (Brenda) from 1977 of, of course, Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue:
Sadly, I saw Crystal about a year or so ago, doing one of those PBS specials, called "Hits of the Seventies" or something, and you could really tell that she just didn't give a damn about that song anymore. Basically, she sang it like this: "dontknowwhenivebeensoblue......youvefoundsomeonenew.....anddontitmakemybrowneyesblue". But you have to sing it in a really slurry voice. As if you've had one too many apple 'tini's. Which is probably what it took to make her sing that song again. Can't really blame her.
INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
Original Texas Playboys
I can get aboard this! This is some really good music! Unfortunately, it was a couple of decades too late, but still! Bob Wills was famous in the forties and fifties. And here it was, 1977, and his band finally got an award. "Oops, we forgot!"
I think it was probably Asleep At The Wheel who reminded voters how good Texas swing music was. So, thanks, AATW!
This video is, of course, not the original Texas Playboys, cuz, first of all, it's from 2005, and secondly, they'd have to be about 108 years old to be still doing this, and I'm kind of leery about that. Anyway, here they are:
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
SONG OF THE YEAR
Lucille - recorded by Kenny Rogers; written by Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum
It's easy to forget how huge Kenny Rogers was in 1977. Cuz it was over 30 years ago, after all. But, trust me, he was huge. I saw him in concert around 1980 in Duluth, Minnesota, and the stadium was packed. And this was even before "The Gambler". Kenny had a knack for picking timeless songs, and "Lucille" is timeless. Kudos to the writers!
And it's nice to see Kenny pre-facelift. I mean, have you seen him lately?? He's got those weird eyes, sort of like the depictions of those space aliens who've kidnapped people and taken them aboard their spaceship. I think Kenny has a guaranteed class action suit there.
The big winner of 1977 was indisputably Ronnie Milsap. Here's what he won:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Ronnie Milsap Live
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Obviously, I've posted a whole bunch of Ronnie Milsap videos in previous posts, but here's one I haven't yet posted. I'm a big, big Ronnie Milsap fan, so I don't mind searching out Ronnie videos.
COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME
This is a really poor video, but this is the guy who wrote "Sixteen Tons", so he deserves his moment in the spotlight. Merle also wrote "Dark As A Dungeon". I'm a fan of those dark songs, so I'm on board with this, absolutely.
Of course, this is the famous version. Tennessee Ernie Ford. That's kind of a relic of the past, isn't it? I vaguely remember when ol' Tennessee was a big media star. I was about 4 or 5 years old at the time. So, that's basically the dark ages. But here he is:
Here's Guy Clark's version of Dark As A Dungeon:
I really enjoyed this performance!
Thus ends our look back to the year 1977 in CMA history.
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