Showing posts with label CMA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CMA. Show all posts

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The CMA Awards - Let's Hope They Were Great In '88!

Isn't it great to look back and remember all those things from, say, 21 years ago? Things that maybe we'd rather forget, but then again, who knows what we might rediscover? Maybe something good!

In the world of news in 1988, we got ourselves a new President. Remember this?

Yea, that guy did a lot of great things for us. Hmmm, let's see now. What did he do? Well, he went into Iraq, sort of, but didn't finish the job; leaving us to inherit this big mess that we found ourselves in, just a few short years later. He begot a son who single-handedly demolished the Republican Party. Oh yea, and he DID raise taxes. So, I guess our new President in 1988 hit a triple!

Which is why I prefer to talk about pop culture!

In 1988, we enjoyed this classic movie from Tim Burton. (And boy, doesn't Alec Baldwin look young here!)

Another hit movie from 1988 was "Cocktail"; a movie that I never actually saw. But I do own the soundtrack CD.

Why didn't I see it? Well, c'mon. It did star Tom Cruise.

The only reason I'm including it here is so that I can include the Beach Boys video of "Kokomo". For some reason, this song gets dissed a lot. I don't get what the vehement hate of this song is all about. It's catchy. It's the Beach Boys. I like it.

And it not only features the glorious voice of Carl Wilson singing the high parts, but also Mike Loooove "fake playing" the saxaphone!

I'm not sure what happened to pop music in 1988, but according to the top songs of the year, it took a steep nosedive.

However, here's a good one (did you forget about this one?)

Here's another pop hit from 1988. Remember Rick Astley? Of course you do! Sure, he looks like a little kid, but he does have a great voice. Although the whole disco beat thing is sort of dated - even for 1988.

So, with that bit of background information, let's move on to the 1988 CMA awards, shall we?

Probably the most amazing happening of 1988 was that Chet Atkins stepped up to again claim the prize for MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR! Sure, you (and I) thought that Chet's time in the spotlight had passed. Oh no! Chet was back! And frankly, I think the CMA should rename this award the "Chet Atkins Musician of the Year Award". I mean, really.

Here's a clip from way back in 1954, just for fun. Chet, playing "Mr. Sandman" (those red houndstooth jackets were BIG in 1954!):

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR was the Judds! Yes, I know that the Judds tended to waver between vocal duo and vocal group. But this time, it was vocal DUO!

Here they are, doing, "I Know Where I'm Goin'":

The SONG OF THE YEAR in 1988 was "Eighties Ladies", written (and recorded) by K.T. Oslin.

K.T. had that one big hit, in 1988, and I guess some smaller follow-up singles, but "Eighties Ladies" was her moment in the sun. As I watched this video, my thought was, "What exactly is the point?" But I'm sure there was one. Maybe I didn't get it because I was only 33 years old in 1988. But the thing is, I still don't get it. Nice song, though.

K.T. Oslin also garnered the FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR award.

Never to be heard from again. Okay, I guess that's a little harsh. Harsh, but basically true.

1988 ushered in a new award from the CMA's, VOCAL EVENT OF THE YEAR. I guess vocal event means that some people get together, who don't normally get together, and they record a song.

These gals recorded more than a SONG. They did a couple of albums, I think. And henceforth, they will be known as the TRIO.....Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt. Three superior singers. A match made in heaven, as they say.

The MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR in 1988 was my friend, and everybody's, Randy Travis.

Here's a nice video from 1988, "I Told You So":

<a href="">Randy Travis - I Told You So (Video)</a>

For some strange, unknown reason, the Country Music Association apparently decided NOT to name a MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR in 1988.

Surely, it couldn't have been because there were no good videos! For example, what about this one?

Rodney Crowell got robbed in 1988 anyway (see ALBUM OF THE YEAR), so I'm happy to include him here. And I'm giving him my own personal MAA (Michelle Anderson Award) for 1988 Video of the Year.

Moving on to categories that were actually awarded by the CMA, the SINGLE OF THE YEAR was a good one!

Here's one of country's best voices, Kathy Mattea, with "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses":

And, hey CMA's! If you didn't like my Rodney Crowell video choice, how about Kathy Mattea's? See, I think there were a LOT of great videos in 1988. Morons.

The VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR happens to be one of my personal favorites, Highway 101.

I can't emphasize enough how influential Highway 101 was in the country music world of the eighties. The original members (the real band) were Cactus Moser, Curtis Stone, Jack Daniels, and, of course, Paulette Carlson. Paulette, the Stevie Nicks of country music (only better!)

There seems to be a dearth of Highway 101 videos available on the web, and this is really the only one I could find (of the original band). Chronologically, this is incorrect, since this recording is from 1989, but here's one of many good ones from Highway 101:

Paulette is originally from Minnesota, and she is just a very lovely person. I was sad when the original group disbanded.

1988's HORIZON AWARD winner was Ricky Van Shelton. Ricky is a fine singer, and he had a lot of hit songs. My one wish for Ricky, however, would have been for him to record more originals, rather than remaking so many older songs. I guess it was a managerial decision. I just don't know why. There's a lot of great songs floating around. I'm sure Ricky would have had many to choose from.

Here's "Somebody Lied" (originally recorded by Conway Twitty):

This leads us to our last two awards of the evening ~ ALBUM OF THE YEAR and, of course, the biggie, ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.

Both awards were won this year by none other than Hank Williams, Jr.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Born To Boogie

Ol' (young?) Hank was on a roll!

Here's a video of one of the tracks from the album of the year, featuring a few people you'll recognize, such as Foster & Lloyd, Ricky Van Shelton, Highway 101, The George Satellites, Vince Gill, Restless Heart, Waylon, and many, many more. Here's "Young Country":

Hall of Fame Roy Rogers

Sure, we know that Roy Rogers was a singing cowboy, and that he had a wife who was named for a guy, and he had a horse named Trigger. And he did western serials and he had poor Trigger stuffed (after Trigger died, of course).

But Roy did much more. Roy formed the Sons of the Pioneers. Take a listen here:

And I always heard that Roy Rogers was a heck of a nice guy.

Loretta Lynn

Lorett-y (sorry, I just recently watched "Coal Miner's Daughter" again) was one of the female pioneers of country music. She followed in the tradition of Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline, but her songs had a perspective all their own, because she wrote 'em. Loretta would never had had a career in country music, had it not been for the hard work and perseverance of her husband, Mooney (or Doolittle - you choose). And I'm sure that Loretta would be the first to agree.

Here's Loretta performing one of her biggest hits:

So, we bid a fond adieu to 1988. A year that saw the rise of some of our (at least my) most cherished country stars. And Hank Williams, Jr., too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

CMA Awards - Welcome To The Eighties! - 1980

Here we go! We've made it to the eighties! I'm excited! Can't you tell from all the exclamation points!!

I'm just excited to have made it all the way through the seventies, and now on to a new decade! I'm predicting BIG THINGS for the eighties! A whole regime change, if you will. I sure hope that's true.

Realistically, however, progress came slowly back then to the world of country music. Country wasn't quick to just shove people aside (like they do now). Good grief, when you look at the country music world of today, good old George Strait must be the most stubborn man alive, cuz try as they might, they just can't push him off the cliff.

So, in 1980, we've got some holdovers from previous years.

The INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR was the Charlie Daniels Band. Here's a 1980'ish song:

I think this song was inspired by Ronald Reagan's election. I could be wrong. But Charlie's a big conservative supporter, so I think I'm right.

The INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR was (again!) Roy Clark. And the VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR were the Statler Brothers. Ahhh, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It might have been a new decade, but it was still the same old Roy and Harold, Don, Phil, and Lew.

As you know if you've read any of my 1970's CMA posts, my video options for the Statler Brothers are kind of running dry. But here's one I found that begins with a song by Johnny Cash, with the Statlers singing backup. Then the boys step out front to do "Bed Of Roses".

And, as you heard, Johnny really loves Scandinavia!

VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR was a bit of a surprise. Of course, this category had long been dominated by male/female pairings, but 1980 brought something different. A male/male pairing: Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley. Yes, that's right.

This video is of supremely bad quality, but, believe me, it's the best that I could find:

Alas, but a moment in time. A snapshot, if you will. But it still marked a most unusual win; one that could only happen in the year that was; 1980. Two "good old boys", never to be heard from again, but here they were. And they still have that oddly-shaped statuette on their mantles, even to this day.

The ALBUM OF THE YEAR was also sort of an anomaly. It was a soundtrack, with a bunch of Hollywood types, singing the songs of Lorett-y Lynn and Patsy Cline, among others. A soundtrack from, as I recall, the biggest movie of 1980, "Coal Miner's Daughter".

I used to have HBO. And if you know HBO like I know HBO, you know that they repeat movies endlessly and relentlessly. So, back in the day, I think I saw the movie, "Coal Miner's Daughter", approximately 192 times. I can, to this day, quote lines from that movie. I also had a huge crush on Tommy Lee Jones. Course, Tommy's old now (who isn't?), but back then, he was a hunk.

Here (in case you've forgotten) are some scenes from "Coal Miner's Daughter" ("Put the backdrop back on the bed, darlin'.")

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR was a pleasant surprise: Emmylou Harris.

Emmylou got me into country albums. From Elite Hotel to Luxury Liner to Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town, Emmylou's albums were great! And she had a bunch of future legends in her band - like Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell.

You know we always leave Entertainer of the Year 'til last, so let's have a grouping of awards, shall we? Ol' Possum Jones got his act together around this time, and I'm sure we can agree that it paid off big time for him! Some say that this is the best country song of all time. I disagree, but I still think it's a good one, and look what came of it:


SINGLE OF THE YEAR - He Stopped Loving Her Today

SONG OF THE YEAR - written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman


Barbara Mandrell
Yes, Barbara won! Another opportunity to get up on stage and give a long......long acceptance speech! As we shall see in future retrospectives, Barbara climbed up on the Ryman stage many, many times to accept many, many awards. And she gave many, many long, rambling acceptance speeches. Sometimes they even ran out of time for the rest of the awards! (okay, I made up that part).
Don't get me wrong. I like Barbara Mandrell. But she did really become full of herself......really quickly. It got to the point, when I was watching the CMA's, when her name would be announced, I would mutter, "oh, for pete's sake", and then wander into the kitchen to make a snack, and when I came back, she was still talking.
But kudos anyway, Barbara, on the first (okay, second) of your many, many awards. Here's a song that I always liked:


Connie B. Gay
Connie B. Gay was a guy - don't let the name fool you. Odd name for a guy, but it maybe stood for Constantine? Mr. Gay was a music executive, and in fact, one of the first people to use the term "country music", as opposed to "hillbilly".
I vote for going back to calling it "hillbilly music". That would clear out some of the riff-raff. Cuz no self-respecting Carrie or Taylor or Tim or Kenny would stoop to calling themselves hillbillies. So, that'd only leave the ones who didn't mind (the good ones).

But, back to Connie B. Gay. He was part of the music scene in Washington, D.C. And he discovered and represented hillbillies - I mean "country artists" such as Jimmy Dean.

Here's a rare find. A clip from the Jimmy Dean Show, with Jimmy stepping in for Don Rich, and singing with Buck Owens and his Buckaroos.

Mr. Gay was also the founding president of the Country Music Association, so I guess if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't even be writing all these dang posts! Thanks, Mr. Gay!

I think the Sons of the Pioneers are cool. Can't you just picture the cowboys out on the range, rounding up those doggies, yodeling away to their heart's content; something like this:

You'll notice our entertainer of the year is right in there; right in the mix; talking, talking, talking; but finally there's another tune from the Sons, featuring Roy Rogers.

Well, I notice Johnny got in there rather quickly! Took the Country Music Association a bit longer to recognize some earlier pioneers - Faron Young, for example. In fact, that took until the year 2000! But let's not quibble. Johnny deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, and here's a medley of some of his songs (including one of my favorites, "I Still Miss Someone"):

So, there you go. A new decade. A fresh start. One classic country song. One classic movie. A novelty act named duo of the year. A long-winded entertainer. There's a little here for everyone!

I think this is going to be an interesting decade!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1975

1975 was a weird year for the CMA's. Actually, it was just a weird year, period. Everybody watched their hard-earned savings go down the drain; the US was in a recession; gas prices were high. The President (Ford) thought the way to get the country back on track was to have everyone slap on a "WIN" button (Whip Inflation Now). Flash forward to 2008. Oh wait, I thought we were talking about 2008.

And, of course, we had a presidential campaign going on. Just like now.

And just like now, the music of 1975 sort of sucked.

In 1975, country music was stuck in a rut. The CMA vote-counters, I'm sure, were just as flummoxed as everyone else. Everybody was getting tired of handing out the same old trophies to the same old people, but there just weren't too many bright spots on the horizon. Things needed to change, to light a spark under the record-buying public, but instead, Nashville was offering up the same girl singers in their same Little House on the Prairie dresses, with their same three-chord songs about the no-good man that done them wrong.

If there were new acts being signed, they sure didn't seem to get promoted. A few newcomers hit the charts now and then, but it happened in spite of Nashville, not because of it.

The powers-that-be in the country music business probably had that tired attitude that said this stuff is good, and we're not changing it. You know, sort of like some old tired music blogger who's always talking about how the country music of the nineties was so much better.

But, in spite of themselves, the promoters and movers 'n shakers in Nashville knew that something needed to be done. So, this is what they came up with:


John Denver

Okay, this isn't what would spring to MY mind immediately, if I was looking for a fresh voice for country music. And this isn't even country music. It's folk. And even today, 33 years later, this still sort of sucks.

I now remember why I used to hate John Denver.

And this, coupled with Olivia Newton-John's win the year prior, was what got the old timers in country music all riled up, and led them to create their own organization. (I think that lasted about one or two years). And they gave all their awards to Grandpa Jones, even female vocalist of the year, and he was sort of p.o.'d about that.

So, like the industry folks of 1975, you can see I'm torn. I hated John Denver and all the sappy crap that he stood for, but I also didn't think that Grandpa deserved awards, either (nothing against Grandpa).

If I, and everyone else, was looking for something a bit more exciting to get behind in 1975, this was pretty good:


Waylon Jennings

(And you notice in this video, they kept a'showin' his hands, but not his face on TV; at least not right away.)

Can you picture the scene backstage, when Waylon ran into John Denver?

"Hey there, little snot-nosed creep. How ya doin'?"

"Um, fine, Mr. Jennings. Thanks for letting me be here."

"Wadn't my idea, son. If it was up to me, I'd rather just shoot ya."

"Thanks, Mr. Jennings! I've gotta go now. I think I need to clean my wire-rims."

"Get the hell outta here, boy!"

So, there you have it. The yin and the yang, shall we say, of 1975. The schizophrenia that permeated the confines of the Ryman Auditorium.

I wish I could say that there were a bunch more surprises that year, but there weren't.

The FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR award went to Dolly Parton for this little song, that, if anyone remembers correctly, didn't do much on the charts. Who knew that Dolly would eventually end up earning one BAZILLION dollars in royalties for it? Lucky!

The SINGLE OF THE YEAR was awarded to Freddy Fender for this song, which is sweet, and has the added bonus of being the first CMA award given to a Hispanic performer (although Johnny Rodriguez surely deserved something for "Pass Me By").

The ALBUM OF THE YEAR went to Ronnie Milsap for "A Legend In My Time". I've already posted the video of this song before, so I thought I'd go with something different this time around.

Just as a postscript, however, I did have this album, and it was good. Country, for the longest time, didn't really know what to do with albums. They'd basically slap on a hit or two, and fill up the rest with cover songs. Ronnie didn't do that. He found some songs that nobody had yet recorded, which was refreshing. And it was a fun album.

This song was recorded long after 1975, but I just like it:

The VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR was the Statler Brothers.......again. Sorry, but I'm just running out of videos of these guys. So, I thought (in the hopes that they don't keep winning, simply for the fact that I'm reaching the end of my video-search capabilities) that I would post a video of their alter-egos, Lester Moran & the Cadillac Cowboys. Enjoy.

CONWAY and LORETTA won for VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR yet again. I've run out of videos, so if you want to see them in concert, please check my previous posts. Not to be cavalier, but the available videos on YouTube are quite limited.

For a refreshing change of pace, JOHNNY GIMBLE won the INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR award. Johnny goes waaaaay back to the Bob Wills days, and I think he's the best fiddler to ever grace the world of country music.

Here's a video that also features Suzy Bogguss and Chet Atkins.


Roy Clark & Buck Trent

Well, I remember Buck Trent when he was one of Porter's Wagonmasters. He gave Porter that distinctive sound. But, as time moved on, so did Buck, and he evenutally teamed up with Roy Clark, and I guess they did some recordings. Not that YouTube could attest to that, because I couldn't find any videos of the two of them in performance together.

This was the best I could find, and I don't know what the setting of this was, but I think it was a gathering of the old folks at home.....the nursing home.

It's sort of disturbing, in a way, to see how all these folks have aged, but hey, they seem to be having a good time, so good for them! Anyway, Roy is in the audience, and Buck (I barely recognize him) is front and center as the ladies of the Opry sing this old chestnut. I didn't know that was Norma Jean, but Jeannie Seely still looks remarkably good! And there's Bill "I'm still winning songwriting awards" Anderson in the audience, along with Little Jimmy Dickens, Johnny Bush, Jim Ed Brown, and a bunch of other people who are apparently a shell of their former selves, because I have no idea who they are, but they must have been somebody at one time.


"Back Home Again" - John Denver

Obviously, this is a (much) later performance of this song, but I actually don't hate it! It's a pretty good one!

So, John definitely had it in him to do good songs. It's just that that "Sunshine" song was such a loser. But this one I like.


Minnie Pearl

I think she was a nice lady. And boy, what a legacy. She was probably the first female in country music who made you stand up and take notice. She wasn't going to fade into the woodwork, like a pair of red velvet drapes. She was out there! Yelling, "HOWWWW-DEEEEE!" And I bet if you saw her, you didn't forget her. She was out there, traveling in a wood-paneled station wagon with Hank Williams and Faron Young, with the bass fiddle strapped to the top. She had ultimate confidence.

And her induction was well deserved.

The videos available of Minnie aren't many. But here's one from a George Burns special, that'll give you the essence of Minnie Pearl.

So, there you go. 1975. Where the past met the.......future? Where a legend like Waylon stood on the same stage with a legend like John Denver........two completely incompatible artists. But they came together in a truly strange year for country music.