Friday, June 21, 2013

Chet Flippo Made Country Music Cool

In the midst of all the sad passings this week, the death of Chet Flippo sadly sank beneath the radar.

An inherent trait of the true country believer is that, if someone outside the country music whirl acknowledges the credence of country music, then it absolutely has to be legit. Country music lovers have long suffered from feelings of inferiority.

Chet Flippo wrote most notably for Rolling Stone magazine. He wrote articles about the album, Wanted: The Outlaws. He wrote a lot about Willie Nelson. He contributed to the liner notes for Will The Circle Be Unbroken. He penned words about Waylon Jennings.He wrote a biography of Hank Williams.

For a guy who began his career covering Janis Joplin and Keith Richards, Chet probably surprised and confused his colleagues by veering off into the world of country. But, if Chet wrote it, they took it to heart.

Us rubes, who grew weary of defending ourselves against a world that considered itself too way cool could point to Chet Flippo's byline in Rolling Stone and say, see? Chet Flippo likes it!

Eventually, Chet moved on from Rolling Stone. He moved to CMT online, and he wrote a column called Nashville Skyline. I've had a link to Nashville Skyline on this blog forever. I don't know what to do with it now. I think I will just keep it where it is.

Chet, in his Nashville Skyline column, called bullshit bullshit. Chet wasn't namby-pamby. I liked that about him.

I've written about Wanted: The Outlaws before. Truth is, it was a slapped-together album; a sum of its disparate parts. Nobody actually knew that when the album was released, however.

Chet saw something in it, though. He no doubt knew its genesis. Chet was no fool.

Tonight, I'm raising a glass of foamy tap beer to the memory of Chet Flippo.

And I'm listening, in his honor, to this:

Rest in peace, Chet Flippo. Who'm I gonna go to now for my fix of country music sanity?

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