Showing posts with label Glen Campbell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Glen Campbell. Show all posts

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Musical Snobbery

There's lots of music I don't like -- there's more I do like. It's not that I'm superior to Steven Tyler or Crosby, Stills or Nash. Their music simply doesn't resound brightly with me. Musical taste is impossible to define. 

Being a thirteen-year-old who liked country music taught me about snobbery. "Country music? Like Johnny Cash?" kids would snicker. Those same kids are now sixty-five years old and cherishing their newly minted thirty-dollar vinyl copy of "Live At San Quentin".(I never was a Cash fan, by the way.) I didn't dare point out that Mama Tried was a far superior track to Snoopy Versus The Red Baron. Mostly no one outside my family and my best friend even knew that I listened to country.

My theory is those who sniff at any kind of music truly don't like music; they're just haughty prigs. I had my phases, too, but my prejudices were generally aimed at artists who tried to change country into something it wasn't. For a time I hated John Denver and Kenny Rogers. In the late sixties I detested Glen Campbell. Happily, I now like both Denver and Rogers; and I cherish Glen.

My favorite (really, my only) country music site sometimes reflexively denigrates artists of the past, while enshrining obscure musicians few have even heard of.There is a certain songwriter who recently passed away who is being (implausibly) touted on the site as a candidate for the Country Music Hall of Fame. While I knew the man's name, I had to Google his songs, and I am here to report that I've never heard of any of them. And I've been enveloped in music for a good sixty years.But he's cool.

This blog is non-judgmental. Music is music, and if you like a track, cool. Joy is what music is supposed to bring to our lives. It should be apolitical; it can be nonsensical.Sometimes it just has a good beat and you find yourself dancing in your chair when you hear it.

Music can be dissected, but boy, that takes the fun out of it. Listening to SiriusXM on my weekend nights, I hear recordings I used to dismiss, but suddenly I'm hearing them with fresh ears. And I don't solely listen to country music. It depends upon my mood. My bookmarked channels range from the 50's to the 80's to Yacht Rock, with a smattering of seventies and eighties country and, of course, Willie's Roadhouse. (Why is there no nineties country channel, Sirius? Hit me up -- I can help you out.)

People can revel in their hipness. I'm just going to derive joy in whatever music hits me.

In the mid-seventies, I was caught in a chasm between country and rock, and I mostly leaned toward rock. AM radio was still the king of the car, and certain tracks were predominant. I remember my brother driving me somewhere and hearing "Heard It In A Love Song' and thinking for the longest time that the title was "Pretty Little Love Song". Not that I necessarily liked the song, but it was played incessantly. That reminded me of this one, that I summarily dismissed, but I really kinda like it now:

Enjoy your weekend. Avoid people. Snack a lot and good luck finding something decent to watch on Netflix. Better yet, crank up some tunes. I won't tell anyone.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

"Country Music" ~ What Ken Missed

At the outset, Ken determined that the focus of his country music series would be Johnny Cash. I don't know why, but I can guess. As a non-country fan who probably is a subscriber to Rolling Stone Magazine, Cash took on a sheen; became a sort of demigod in Burns' eyes. Ken needed someone to wrap his episodes around, and who better? Cash led a melodramatic life. He had it all ~ family tragedy, rockabilly roots, substance abuse, infidelity; plus he sired a hugely successful daughter. The continuum.

The commenters on the one country music site I frequent invariably mentioned their dismay with Burns' absorption with Johnny Cash, to the exclusion of many deserving artists. It's a shame, really. A lost opportunity.

I've already talked about the complete disrespect shown to George Strait, but there are others.

Here, to me, are the most glaring omissions:

Jerry Lee Lewis ~ Ken spent a lot of time, quizzically on Elvis Presley. Not once was there a time when Elvis was even remotely country. His label-mate on Sun Records, however, not only is one of the most phenomenal artists of all time, but Jerry Lee Lewis actually had a successful country career. Nowhere in this eight-part series did Jerry Lee get a single mention. And, unlike Elvis, Jerry Lee actually loves music, country or otherwise. Jerry Lee is not a caricature.

Ray Price ~ We caught a glimpse of Ray Price somewhere within episode five or six, or something. I don't remember, but it was in the context of talking about some other artist. Had Ken been at all curious, he would have found that Ray Price was the country singer of the fifties and early sixties. No, not Hank Snow or Roy Acuff ~ Ray Price. And since Ken seems to have a fascination with Nudie suits, who better? But let's be frank:  Willie can thank his lucky stars that Ray Price recorded Night Life, and Roger Miller would not have had a career at all without Invitation To The Blues. Bill Anderson? How about City Lights? I could go on, but Ray can speak for himself:


Don Gibson ~ I'm not a fan of Don's singing, but that's not what made him iconic. He wrote many of the songs that were heavily featured (by other artists) in the series: I Can't Stop Loving You (Ray Charles), Sweet Dreams (Patsy Cline); as well as (I'd Be A) Legend In My Time (Ronnie Milsap) and Just One Time (Connie Smith), and many others. To feature those artists and not include the man who wrote the songs is inexcusable.

Don Rich ~ I've heard Buck Owens' recording of Together Again when he sang harmony with himself. Trust me, Don Rich hit that song out of the park. There wasn't enough focus on iconic bands overall in this series. The Strangers (and Bonnie Owens' contribution to Merle's sound) received no mention. The declaration that Roy Nichols was in someone else's band when Merle snatched him up went mostly unnoticed.

Don Rich was the heart of the Buckaroos, and if Buck was still alive, he'd say the same. Everything changed after Don died. He was the bandleader, he was the Telecaster master, he was the harmony singer extraordinaire.

Gene Watson ~ Country music was soooo in the doldrums in 1975. We had Tanya Tucker and...well, that's about it. I was working a menial job that allowed me to carry my portable radio around with me when I heard Love In The Hot Afternoon, and I was transfixed. This guy could sing, and he hadn't even yet shown off his best stuff:

Glen Campbell ~ Glen wasn't just some guy who had a network television show, but that's what one would glean from Ken Burns' dismissive reference to him. In the late sixties, one could not flip on their radio without hearing a Campbell song, ad nauseum, I would add. But damn ~ he deserved some love in this series, and he got zero.

Marty Robbins ~ come on! I know Ken is not a country aficionado, but Marty Robbins? Did Ken at least watch Breaking Bad?

Tanya Tucker ~ She was thirteen and I was seventeen and hotly jealous when my radio started playing Delta Dawn. Ken talked about Brenda Lee (who I love), but no reference to this phenom? Ken, Ken.

There are other niggling points, but these are the standouts to me; in addition to George, of course, who deserved far better. I could forgive a few, but it seems so obvious to me that country icons, regardless of whether they did or didn't sing about prisons, shouldn't have been ignored.

A couple less seconds about Johnny's Rick Rubin recordings and a few more about artists that country fans revere could have sent this series into the stratosphere.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Fifty Years Ago?

(Yea, all the posters looked like this in 1969)

1969 was fifty years ago. I would turn fourteen in May, and I was kind of a mess (but then again, when wasn't I?)

It's difficult to recreate that time, but I will do my best to remember. By '69 I had cajoled my mom into letting me move into my own room. We had 52 of them, so the loss of one wouldn't bankrupt my parents. (It was a motel; just to clarify. We didn't live in a 52-room mansion.) 

Just outside our apartment living quarters was a cavernous double garage that housed the laundry facilities and folding tables and miscellaneous detritus. Room #1 bumped up against all this rumbling uproar, so it wasn't an alluring rental. Thus, I determined that this room would be the perfect ~ absolutely pristine ~ new living quarters. It was like a little apartment, with a double bed, a 12-inch black and white TV, a big dresser with a mirror, and its own bathroom. Mom, in a lucid moment, most likely realized that sharing a bunk bed with my much younger brother and sister in a pseudo-closet wasn't the ideal arrangement for a newly-budded teenager, so she agreed. 

My big brother, who was a bona fide carpenter, carved a door into the wall between the deafening garage and the wondrous room; and thus, I could skit across the garage from our apartment and slip inside my very own private living quarters. The very first thing I did when I moved in was search out a sliding chain lock contraption among the clutter of odds and ends my dad owned and shakily twirl it into the wall with a screwdriver. 

For about a year and a half, I lived the solitary life of a cosmopolitan single ~ albeit a thirteen-year-old single who still needed to raid Mom's refrigerator for sustenance.

I still had my battery-operated phonograph because I didn't have a job at thirteen, at least not one that paid actual wages; but I had my eye on a JC Penney component stereo ~ black. Its price tag read $100.00 and I had nine dollars and change, but I knew one day I would definitely own it. The problem with a battery-operated record player was that it didn't have an auxiliary power cord and there was no such thing as alkaline batteries, so those four D's wore down much too quickly. I did have a transistor radio, though, so the air shimmered with music at all times. 

My new best friend Alice had reintroduced me to country music in 1967 and I'd embraced it wholeheartedly; yet I wasn't quite ready to give up my pop, so I had one size six-and-a-half sized foot in the country world and the other in the candy confection cosmos of KFYR-AM radio.

In January of '69 the Beatles performed a weird rooftop concert and Richard Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th president of the US, which sort of sums up the schizophrenic world of the last year of the sixties.

The Tet Offensive happened in February, and every single person alive (especially the boys deployed) were sick to death of the Viet Nam War. Meanwhile, this was the biggest hit in the country:

Down in Nashville, some guy named Cash had a network TV show that featured the Carters, the Statlers, and Carl Perkins. He also had the number one country hit of January and February. (For you trivia buffs, June Carter did not sing the "Mama sang tenor" part on the record. It was Jan Howard.)

Some guy hijacked a plane and diverted it to Cuba (yawn) in March. Hijackings were an every other week occurrence. At the Grammys, Simon and Garfunkel's Mrs. Robinson won record of the year, but not to be outdone, Glen Campbell won album of the year for By The Time I Get To Phoenix. Jose Feliciano was best new artist. Jeannie C. Riley and Johnny Cash were best female and male artists, and one of the all-time worst songs of all time, Little Green Apples, not only won best country song but best song overall (and you know how that song has stood the test of time, which proves that the Grammys are overall worthless).

Meanwhile, this was the number one pop hit:

I'm a bit queasy from watching this video. Tommy Roe filled a niche, if that niche was toothache-sweet marshmallow confections. He actually recorded a decent song a few years later and then was never heard from again (okay, I don't actually know that for a fact).

In country, nothing good happened until April. My country station just kept playing Daddy Sang Bass over and over. Album-wise, Wichita Lineman was number one for fifteen straight weeks. Now, I like Glen Campbell a lot, but back then I truly hated him. The songs would have been okay, but the hideous strings he put on all his records made me nauseous. I liked twin fiddles and a good steel guitar solo. And don't even get me started on Jimmy Webb.

A word about TV:  Even the shows I liked were awful. For those who exist in a Netflix world, let me explain how television worked in 1969. There were three networks (PBS didn't count) and that was it. If one wanted to watch TV, not only did they need to suffer through commercials, but they also had to suffer through the shows themselves. Frankly, the only good program in '69 was the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Shows I watched essentially against my will:  Gomer Pyle, Laugh-In, Green Acres, Hawaii Five-O, Get Smart (okay, Get Smart was good), something called Here Come The Brides, Mannix and Mission: Impossible (again, these two are exceptions to the rule); Petticoat Junction, Ironside, I Dream Of Jeannie, Family Affair. As bad as almost all those were, there were programs even I refused to watch, such as Adam-12 and Hogan's Heroes.

Alice and I attended a lot of movies that year, too, because what the hell else would thirteen-year-olds do for fun? We saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Paint Your Wagon, which featured a painful vocal performance by Lee Marvin. We saw True Grit with John Wayne and (hey ~ again!) Glen Campbell.

Thus sums up the first quarter of the year 1969. In retrospect, country music basically sucked and pop was hanging on by a thread. 

Personally, I slathered a lot of Clearasil on my chin and dotted clear nail polish on my snagged nylons. I wore too much liquid makeup, in the wrong shade for my skin tone. I still worshiped my big brother, but he was barely around. My little brother and sister, though cute, were "others" that I scarcely interacted with. My parents were to be avoided at all cost. Life Science was an alien proposition; US History was interesting, but I was loathe to admit it to anyone. School was in essence a day to get through.

1969 does become more interesting, however, as the pages turn. 

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 30, 2018

1975 ~ More Life and Country Music

I write a lot about the sixties, because like most people, my teenage years were my most momentous.

Life, however, did not stop when the next decade began. If the mid-sixties were tumultuous, the early seventies were just as confusing; perhaps even more so. Unlike kids today who are twelve-going-on-twenty, I was nineteen-going-on-twelve. I was wholly unprepared for life, but impatient to get it started. I missed out on a lot of stuff in my teen years due to the jittery dysfunction of home life ~ things like how to grow up to be a regular person. I appropriated bits from my best friend's family dynamic and combined that with daydreams of how things were supposed to work.

I operated on instinct. I was trying to cram six years of learning into six months. Every little experience I tucked away for future reference.

My life in a nutshell:
  • I graduated from high school.
  • I got a job.
  • I found a boyfriend.
  • I got married.

Things went wrong from the beginning. 

My first "real" job (which means, not working for my parents) turned out to be an echo of the same queasiness I'd fought so hard to get away from.

My boyfriend (soon to be husband) was a mismatch from Day One. I knew it, but did nothing to stop it, because I needed to get away.

I (and by "I", I mean I) picked out our new home ~ a nice 14 by 60 mobile home parked on the sales lot that had black-and-white linoleum and harvest gold appliances and long-looped green shag carpets. I didn't even know one had to pay an electric bill or a gas bill or lot rent. Or pay money for food. My parents didn't have love, but they had money. Thus, while my mom insisted that I purchase my own clothes for school, I never had to lay out one thin dime for anything except my reel-to-reel tape recorder and my JC Penney component stereo.

I took my teenage bed to my new marriage home and someone (in-laws, I believe) gifted us with a tufted Sears sofa. We filled in the other missing pieces with particle-board end tables and a round cardboard "bedside stand" that looked great as long as it was draped with an FW Woolworth table topper.

I quit the crazy State job after nine-or-so months and informed my parents I would now be back working for them. I can't believe they let me, but they had other fish to fry at the time, like my dad going berserk on booze and my mom trying to find a way to offload him onto somebody who'd lift her burden.

It wasn't all daisies and cumulus clouds working for Mom and Dad. I cleaned motel rooms. The weird thing was, I liked it. I liked working alone. It was the first time I'd ever been left with nothing but my own thoughts. It was heaven! I didn't have to answer to anyone. I had my portable radio that I carried with me from room to room, and I lived a life that I couldn't quite describe or put my finger on, but it felt like freedom.

1975 was my bridge year. I wasn't yet pregnant ~ I was still technically a kid. Life held possibilities, although I'd kind of smothered those by choosing to marry the first guy who asked me. My dream life, however, was completely awesome.

And the music on my radio was magical.

It's not so much that the music of 1975 was notable, but some of it was:

I didn't even like this song so much, but I remember it:

These were songs that, when I talked to the people in my life, they could not relate to, but they nodded and pretended they understood. My mom liked Conway Twitty and my dad didn't like anything except "Paloma Blanca". My husband was a go-along, get-along kind of guy who didn't understand this whole music thing, but mollified me.

BJ Thomas had captivated me in 1968 with his "Eyes Of A New York Woman", and now he was singing country. Country fans were as snobbish as rock fans, except country was more like a secret club. Even in '75 one did not advertise that they liked country music. To admit it would subject oneself to a cultural shaming. So, "we" disdained any artist who appropriated country -- John Denver, especially; but also Olivia Newton-John, even though we secretly sort of liked them. To me, BJ Thomas sounded country, and "the sound" was prime.

There was a new guy who appeared on my radio. He reminded me a bit of Jerry Lee, and he played piano like Jerry Lee Lewis, too. Die-hard country fans know authenticity when we hear it. Gary Stewart was authentic. It makes me sad to watch Gary's videos, because life did not turn out well for him, but he was, for a brief moment, a star. And he deserved it.

Another guy who showed up in...well, technically, 1974...but was huge in '75, was Ronnie Milsap. I always think of Gary Stewart and Ronnie Milsap in the same parcel, because they (contrary to what you may have been told) were the the most shimmering stars of 1975.

Female singers didn't spring up like male singers did. The ratio of male country artists to female is approximately 95 to 1. Really -- make a list.

I was at home, kneeling on my green shag carpet, fiddling with the dials on my console stereo, when this voice piped through the radio speakers. I was puzzled. She wasn't Dolly, nor Loretta. I didn't know who the heck she was, and I knew everybody. I didn't know her because she was new. Soon to be "not new". I rushed down to my local Woolworth's store and purchased, for $3.99, her album called "Elite Hotel".

Everybody thought Ray Stevens was a fool, including Ray Stevens. He was a novelty act, albeit a clever one. At my rancid State job in 1974, I was subjected to "The Streak" approximately 20,152 times on the radio. But Ray could do other stuff, when he set his mind to it:

It's difficult to describe the pop culture of the mid-seventies to someone who was not there. We had our radios and our TV's, and that's it. The big three networks would only feature country artists who weren't too "country", "Hee Haw" aside (CBS would soon purge that program). The only place we'd ever see country artists was on variety shows, but they were all abuzz with Jim Stafford and, of course, novelties.

Here are the top two country singles of 1975. You can guess how I felt about them:

I didn't begin to like Glen Campbell until somewhere around the 2000's. As for CW McCall, well, we don't hear a lot of covers of "Convoy", do we? And just for the record, nobody had CB radios. Nobody.

Music was my lifeline in 1975. I was adrift and didn't even acknowledge it. Like all of us, I sauntered through my days focused on inconsequential things. Life hadn't exactly turned out right, try as I did to make it so. All I had that made any sense was music, and I don't dwell on that time. I hurt for the semi-person I was then.

Maybe that's why I don't pen a lot of posts about the seventies.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Transitions ~ 1969 In Music

I "graduated" from junior high in May, 1969 and transitioned to Mandan Senior High that September. I was grown-up! Shoot, I was fourteen going on fifteen! On my way to freshman renown!

Richard Nixon had become president. I'd pissed off my dad by tacking my eighth grade history project (a campaign placard) up on the wall right outside the kitchen door ~ "This Time Vote Like The Whole World Depends On It ~ Nixon/Agnew". Dad was reliably perturbed and baffled. I think he literally scratched his head as he alighted the stoop. My work was done!

That summer odd things happened. Teddy Kennedy killed a girl and the Manson Family killed a bunch of people in gruesome ways. Woodstock happened and most people didn't give a shit. My best friend Alice and I went to the Mandan Theater and saw "Butch Cassidy" and "True Grit". We learned that Glen Campbell was a terrible actor and that Paul Newman still had the bluest eyes under the sun.

Oh yea, there was some kind of "moon landing" that summer. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday night, which was really bad scheduling. Plus the optics weren't good. It was hard to make out what exactly was going on. I did park myself in front of our console TV, and I think my dad was there, too. Maybe Dad was more impressed than I. I didn't grasp the enormity of the event, but I was fourteen. I was more excited anticipating the next "World of Beauty" kit that would land in my mailbox.

(I hope it has white lipstick!)

I'd abandoned rock and roll. But old habits died hard. I still had one foot in AM radio, but mostly, thanks to the influence of my new best friend, I became immersed in country music. 

I was still aware of certain '69 hits, like this:

And this song, over and over:


This was catchy:

I liked this one because I watched Hawaii Five-O every Thursday night at nine p.m. on CBS television (Book 'em. Danno):

But frankly, the number one song of the year was one my seven-year-old sister really liked, because it was a cartoon. This is where pop music was in '69, as much as one wants to wax nostalgic over "Get Back" and "Lay Lady Lay":

On the home front, life had settled into a routine. Dad was sober "sometimes";  Mom was a harpy, mostly. I retreated to the room I now shared with my adolescent sister and spun records on my (still) battery-operated turntable. 

TV was supreme. After all, that's where I basked in Hawaii Five-O and Medical Center, and that's where I found the Johnny Cash Show on ABC TV. 

1969 was Johnny's year. He was insidious. Johnny, with his black waistcoat and his Carters and Statlers and his Carl Perkins and Tennessee Three climbed inside one's brain matter and made himself at home.

But, try as he might, Johnny could never supersede the artist of the sixties, or basically of ever; Merle:

Glen Campbell had his Goodtime Hour on CBS. It was a summer replacement for that subversive Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. I was so oblivious I didn't know the Smothers Brothers were incendiary. We tended to overlook the political screeds, because they appeared nightly on the network news, and focused instead on the comedy. 

Glen Campbell, on the other hand, was an artist I despised. Fortuitously, I later came to my senses ~ but it wasn't entirely my fault. Glen played the hayseed role so well, he was one of the prime reasons I disavowed any familiarity with country music anytime I was pinned down about my musical tastes.

"Hi! I'm Glen Campbell!" he piped up through the cornfield. If it hadn't been for John Hartford, I would have clicked my TV dial to whatever medical drama was playing out on NBC. 

It didn't help that Glen insisted on recording Jimmy Webb songs, although this one, in retrospect, is not bad:

My musical tastes ran more towards:

As a (bogus) CMA member, I voted for this next song as Single of the Year. Freddy Weller had once been a member of Paul Revere and the Raiders, whose posters from Tiger Beat I had tacked to my bedroom wall. I didn't actually like Paul Revere and the Raiders, but I thought Mark Lindsay was cute, with his ponytail. 

This Joe South song didn't win, despite my best efforts. 

Nobody (but me) remembers Jack Greene, but he had the number one song and Single of the Year in 1967, with "There Goes My Everything". 

In 1969 he had an even better song (as Ricky Van Shelton can attest). 

Porter Wagoner actually had a career without Dolly Parton, believe it or not. Alice and I sat cross-legged in her living room and played this LP (and made up our own lyrics to the song (that are NSFW):

Transitions, yes. Confusion, yes. 

Music was my lifeline. And I was just trying to get by.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 - A Year

If one stops learning, they stop living. I think I learned some things in 2017 -- they may not be profound things, but they are things.

It's difficult to sum up a year, three hundred and sixty-five days, because I frankly would have to think hard to remember what I did yesterday. Time runs together like a gushing stream.

Nevertheless, in no particular order, things I learned:

Don't trust preconceived notions.

Two notable passings touched me this year more than I ever thought they would.

When I was thirteen and beginning to formulate my country music opinions, burying myself in Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard vinyl, I hated (hated!) Glen Campbell. Glen Campbell wasn't rock 'n roll and he sure wasn't country. I didn't know what he was exactly -- kind of Frank Sinatra Lite. Everything any self-respecting music lover hated. Synthesizers that sounded like drunken birds. Icky, simpering melodies (thanks, Jimmy Webb). And that's all the stupid FM disc jockey ever played -- that and an early dysmorphic Willie Nelson. The radio station apparently possessed only two LP's, and the radio spinner made the most of them. No wonder AM radio ruled.

I'm talking about stuff like this:

But a funny thing happened on my trip through the decades:  I learned to love Glen Campbell. Oh, it was gradual. I thought "Rhinestone Cowboy" ranked right up there with "Rose Garden" for its dullness and repetition. I did like "Southern Nights", however. It had a bit more verve than I'd come to expect from Glen. In his Tanya Tucker days, he added some nice touches to her recordings, and, silly as it seemed, I found that I craved that voice.

As happens when we get older and wiser, Glen settled into himself. Sadly, it was Alzheimer's that brought it about. When I learned that Glen had Alzheimer's, a lump caught in my throat. My dad had Alzheimer's, and it's so very sad...and lonely. But that knowledge drew me to Glen, after fifty-odd years of either hating him or ignoring him. 

I'm happy that in 2017 I re-found Glen Campbell. 

The seventies, for me, were kind of a lost decade, musically. I didn't know which way to turn. I was buying Larry Gatlin albums and meanwhile hearing the Bee Gees singing about staying alive. And The Captain and Tennille. Frankly, the seventies sucked in myriad ways.

In the mire, I completely missed Tom Petty.  I honestly had no idea who Tom Petty was until my little sister began raving about an album called, "Full Moon Fever". 

Let me tell you about Tom Petty -- he was AWESOME. 

I watched a documentary about him on Netflix, and I think I am in love.

What a decent, principled man he was. 

And I completely missed him!

No more. Maybe I'm a bit late, but I will forevermore celebrate everything Tom Petty. 

What was life like before Netflix?

I don't like commercials and I don't like, "stayed tuned for scenes from next week's episode". In the prehistoric days, we had to put up with both those things. In the twenty-first century, TV has evolved. And thankfully, because I would have completely missed some awesome TV if it wasn't for Netflix. 

What did I miss?

Number one, the best television show of all time:

Another show I missed:

Mad Men

And exclusive to Netflix:

Stranger Things:

The Crown:

Thanks to DVD, I found:

Downton Abbey
The Sopranos

So, yes, my life consists of TV, essentially.

I did learn a few other lessons in 2017, actually.

If you live long enough, the sadness subsides, and you remember the happy.

My mom and dad have been gone for a long while -- since 2001, to be exact. For a long time I couldn't think about them without feeling melancholy, wistful, regretful. If you are a reader of my blog, you know that throughout my life my relationship with my mother was fraught. If we'd met as strangers, we wouldn't have become friends...although that's possibly untrue. Maybe we would have accepted each other as friends do. As it was, we both expected more of each other than either of us was able to give. It wasn't until late in her life that I recognized the fine qualities she possessed -- hard-fought acceptance, forgiveness. In some ways we were too much alike, but those likenesses were overshadowed by irreconcilable, fundamental differences. I've never once dreamed about my mom, which is puzzling.

I last dreamed about my dad maybe seven years ago. We were in a hotel ballroom where some kind of happy gathering was about to commence. I stood among a group of strangers waiting for Dad to come in. He did, attired in his de rigueur short-sleeved white dress shirt, but as he passed me, he didn't stop. He didn't even acknowledge my presence as he glad-handed all his friends. I don't know what the dream meant. Maybe that I craved the attention he once lavished on me, as a child, before life became too crazy and he curled up in a woozy world all his own. I don't hold it against him. I don't hold anything against Mom or Dad...anymore.

I've dedicated my blog this year to remembrances of times past and how they intersect with music. It's helped me work through...whatever I apparently need to work through.

Never say never.

I had a tradition of creating a video at the end of every year, ever since 2006, for the Red River song, "Ring In The Old". I stopped a couple of years ago because I had lost interest and had moved on.

This year, I felt nostalgic and on the spur of the moment, decided to do it once again.


Happy 2018 to you.

This is the best I could do.

And that's a-okay with me.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Still On The Line

In the late sixties, FM radio suddenly appeared out of nowhere. It's hard to fathom now, but back then, AM radio ruled, static and all. AM radio was Top 40 -- if one waited a few brief minutes, she would be sure to hear "Kicks" by Paul Revere and the Raiders or even better, "The Letter" by the Box Tops. It was guaranteed. The Top Ten Countdown was the highlight of a preteen's Saturday night.

FM was "experimental". Sure, it had a nice deep bass sound, but no one knew quite what to do with it. Nobody was actually listening. Local disc jockeys, as was their wont, didn't particularly care for the genre of music they'd been hired to spin. Thus (since no one was listening anyway) the "country" DJ's chose to skirt the outer rims of country music. I was thirteen and ensconced in a closet-sized bedroom I shared with my little brother and sister, who were thankfully never there, so in the evenings I'd click the button on my newfangled AM/FM radio to the FM band and be subjected to "country" such as "Me and Paul" by a guy whose voice I hated -- Willie Nelson -- and to the sugary-sweet strings of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix"; one of the worst songs ever written (thanks, Jimmy Webb!). Because I despised that song so much, I developed a burning hatred for Glen Campbell. I refused to even admit to myself that "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston" were tunes worthy of a cursory listen. I knew nothing of Glen Campbell, other than that he'd suddenly appeared out of nowhere and that he recorded crappy songs.  Honestly, hearing a Glen Campbell song caused me to grind my teeth.

Then he had that summer fill-in show for the Smothers Brothers. He was hokily earnest. "Hi!! I'm Glen CAMPBELL!" Well, yee-haw. His chubby cheeks had a rubish pink hue. He was far too enthusiastic for someone who could croon drivel like "By The Time I Get To Phoenix". Naturally, I watched the show. We had the Big Three networks; that's it. It was either watch the crumbs of "country" music or turn the TV off; and we couldn't turn the TV off -- we were children of the sixties, after all.

I begrudgingly admitted I liked this one (written by John Hartford):

It wasn't until decades later that I learned Glen had been a stellar member of the Wrecking Crew, and had played on all the sixties songs I worshiped.  Who knew? This guy? This geeky hayseed?

The sixties rolled on into the seventies. Glen Campbell turned into another "oldies" act in my mind. I'd moved on from my bunk-bedded bedroom and was all "grown up"; married and desperate for decent music that I scratched and clawed to unearth.  There were stories about Glen and Tanya Tucker. Tabloid stories. It was all tawdry -- the teenage country princess and the dirty old man. Glen was someone whose time had come and gone. It was the mid-seventies when this next single hit the airwaves. It was a curious song; sort of bittersweet, but possessed of a voice that conjured something deep in the recesses of my brain; a voice sweetly familiar:

Suddenly Glen Campbell was everywhere:

Suddenly I was remembering things I liked about Glen Campbell, like this:

Then I forgot about him.

Life goes on and we get older. We shed the things that once mattered, because there are new things.

My dad died from Alzheimer's Disease in 2001. I lived miles away and I didn't see my dad except for that one last time when he was still speaking -- albeit to his imaginary friend -- but that was okay with me. I wish now that I'd had the chance to rub his arm when he was bedridden in the nursing home, at the end. He wouldn't have known me, but I would have known him. My dad didn't have any muscle-memory skills except the ability to speak French. He wasn't a guitar virtuoso. Learning that Glen Campbell had Alzheimer's hit me harder than I expected. I wanted to feel that the essence of Glen still remained, if only for a little while, so I bought "Ghost On The Canvas" and it made me cry, as I thought it would -- although the album was far better than the sorrow I wanted to wallow in.

If I could travel back in time, I would sit with my dad every day, for every one of his last days. I wouldn't care that he didn't know me -- I knew him. In the last dream I had of my dad, he was young - fifty-ish maybe; vigorous; traversing a long hallway wearing his ubiquitous short-sleeved white dress shirt, on his way to a hotel banquet room to find his friends and acquaintances. He passed right by me; didn't see me. I called out to him but he didn't even take a backward glance. My dad didn't have any backward glances at the end. There were no backward glances to take.

I watched the documentary, I'll Be Me, again the other night. I'll probably watch it again.

Oh, and by the way, thanks, Jimmy Webb. I actually do like these songs: 

Bye, Glen.

Say "hi" to my dad.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

"It's So Corny"

From the age of thirteen, when I took the deep dive into country music; which, honestly, I never would have done if not for my new best friend, I faced the quizzical, derisive expressions of anyone who ever asked me what kind of music I listened to -- if I chose to respond honestly. The truth was, I was kind of embarrassed, too. If I replied "country", the other person would say, "You mean like 'Folsom Prison Blues'?" Okay, yea, "Folsom Prison Blues", because that's the only country song the other person had ever heard of. Truthfully, I never liked that song. More truthfully, I never liked Johnny Cash, except for "I Still Miss Someone" and "Ring Of Fire". But the general (ignorant) wisdom was that anyone who listened to country music must love the brum brubb-a brum brum of Johnny Cash and his three-piece band. Because country fans were steeped in corn.

Or they'd say, "I really like that song, 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix'." Okay. That's another track on my mental list of songs I never, ever wanted to hear again. That was not country music.

If I'd taken the time to tick off the list of artists I listened to, nobody would have known who they were, so I instead let people think I was a die-hard Johnny Cash fan. Nobody'd ever heard of Merle Haggard, Faron Young, Tammy Wynette, Lynn Anderson, Mel Tillis, Dolly Parton, Ray Price, Charley Pride, or Marty Robbins.

The truth, though I never shared it with anyone, was that I had excellent taste in country music. I understood it was an acquired taste -- shoot, even I had to acquire a taste for it. On first listen, yes, it was corny. The thing about country, though, was that it wasn't the crossover hits that defined it. The crossover hits were watered down to appeal to a wide audience. Thus, they weren't real country. The crossovers were an amalgam of treacly strings combined with a southern accent. The worst of two worlds.

Being a country fan was like being a rock fan in the sixties. You didn't want to claim songs like "Yummy Yummy Yummy" or "I'm Henry VIII, I Am", but they were part of your posse, so if you liked "Strawberry Fields", you were thus tarnished with the stench of "Young Girl" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. It came with the territory. It didn't matter how much you protested, if you were a rock fan, you liked "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro. If you were a country liked "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro (trust me, nobody ever anywhere liked that song).

I included a pic of Loretta Lynn in this post for a reason. She was (is) a really talented artist and certainly knew how to write hits, but her songs were the epitome of corn. And in them she always wanted to start a fight with someone. Loretta Lynn was another of the country stars, like Johnny Cash, that I didn't bond with.

When I was about eight years old, I went with my parents to see Loretta Lynn at Panther Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. It was an odd scene -- folks had to bring their own booze in with them -- the hall only served "mix" (7-UP or whatever other accompaniment one wanted with their cocktail). Dinner was served at long tables with white tablecloths. Patrons shared a table with approximately thirty strangers. The waiters came by to take our orders -- I probably ordered a hot dog or fish sticks -- if they were on the menu. I remember the waiter asking me what kind of dressing I wanted on my salad and I replied, "none". He asked, "No salad?" and I said, "No, no dressing.". Yes, I ate bare lettuce mingled with carrot slivers and radish slices. I was a pathologically picky eater.

Be that as it may, we saw Loretta Lynn and her band perform, I guess in between the garlic bread and the baked potato. Someone in our party (which consisted of my parents and my sister and brother-in-law) went up and got Loretta's autograph. They brought the signed photo back to the table and I remarked, "It looks like it says 'Buffalo Lynn'." Henceforth, Loretta would always be known as Buffalo Lynn to me.

Later I would discover "Blue Kentucky Girl" and wonder why Loretta never sang more songs like that; songs that were plaintive and not pugilistic.

The pugilistic side was what country fans had to try to (or try not to) explain to rubes who scratched their heads when we admitted that we listened to country music.

So, let's rip off the Band-Aid:

I wonder whatever happened to old Henson Cargill:

I really can't convey the number of times this next song was played on the radio. Somewhere in the dark recesses of the stratosphere, there is a little satellite bouncing around, streaming this track. And little aliens are exclaiming, "If I have to hear this song one more time, I'm going to slit the sinewed tendons that attach my arm to my hand".

I give Bobby Goldsboro a lot of (deserved) grief for his 1968 hit, but really, is it any worse than this?

Okay, I know you've been waiting:

Here are the songs I was actually listening to:

But really, no one would get it.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

CMA 50 - A Look Back - 1968

The first year the CMA Awards were televised was 1968. NBC broadcast the show and Kraft was its sponsor. It used to be that October was country music month -- it was decreed throughout promos for the show:  "October is country music month." Today country music month is...ehh, whenever. 

The commercials between the performances and the award-handing featured a honey-voiced announcer extolling the fun, warm family desserts one could make with Kraft caramels. Ahh, caramel apples, crackly leaves of burnished orange dusting the sidewalks, the kids skipping home from school, greeted at the door with a tender hug from Mom.

Dad nursing a whiskey sour in his easy chair; Mom, her arms crossed, nursing time-worn resentments. The kids huddled in their rooms cranking their radios up loud to muffle the inevitable screaming match to come.

Oh, maybe that was just my house. 

Is it any wonder I wrapped my head and arms around the CMA's?

Before 1968, the only awards shows on TV were the Emmys and the Oscars. Today, pick a week and you'll find one or two statuette grabfests to suit your tastes. "Winning an award" is a mundane exercise. Shoot, I bet I've even won an award for something and I don't even know it (I'm thinking I probably sent my "representative" to scoop it up for me.)

Forty-eight years of televised CMA's has wrought some changes. There's no longer a category for Comedian of the Year or Instrumental Group. Vocal Group used to encompass not only groups but duos. Frankly there weren't that many vocal groups making records in 1968.

And we (okay, I) think today's music reeks? Take a gander at the nominees (and winners) of the various awards in '68:

Album of the Year
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash
By The Time I Get To Phoenix - Glen Campbell
D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Tammy Wynette
Gentle on My Mind - Glen Campbell
The Best of Merle Haggard - Merle Haggard

Female Vocalist of the Year
Tammy Wynette
Lynn Anderson
Loretta Lynn
Dolly Parton
Jeannie C. Riley 

Male Vocalist of the Year
Glen Campbell
Eddy Arnold
Johnny Cash
Merle Haggard
Charley Pride

Single of the Year
Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Riley
By The Time I Get To Phoenix - Glen Campbell
D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Tammy Wynette
Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
Honey - Bobby Goldsboro

Song of the Year
Honey - Bobby Russell (sorry, but one of the worst songs ever written)
D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman
Harper Valley PTA - Tom T. Hall
Little Green Apples - Bobby Russell (Is this guy gunning for the title of worst songwriter ever?)
Skip a Rope - Glen Douglas Tubb and Bobby Moran 

Vocal Group of the Year
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton
The Stoneman Family
Archie Campbell and Lorene Mann (?)
Bill Anderson and Jan Howard
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

Entertainer of the Year
Glen Campbell
Eddy Arnold
Johnny Cash
Merle Haggard
Charley Pride 

FYI - the Instrumental Group of the Year was the Buckaroos (richly deserved) and the Comedian of the Year, if anyone cares, was Ben Colder (I guess you had to be there).

So, if we're (okay I'm) appalled by Beyonce performing on the 50th anniversary show, in 1968 we were appalled (appalled!) by Glen Campbell, who wasn't country, walking away with the biggest awards of the night.

I like Glen Campbell a whole lot -- now. I think Glen Campbell is a national treasure. That doesn't negate the fact that By The Time I Get To Phoenix wasn't country. It was...I don't know...easy listening, I guess. It sucked.

And don't even get me started on that musical blemish, "Honey". Oh. My. God. Horrible, horrible song.

Hindsight, though, is omniscient. Of course we know now that Tammy and Merle and...I guess that's about it from the above list...are majestic. Merle would have his day, and his arms full of awards, in 1970. Tammy started a long run in '68 that flowed into subsequent years. Porter and Dolly were royalty -- Dolly still is.

But if you can stand the cringe-worthiness, let's take a close look back, shall we?

(She was kinda dumb and kinda smart.)

For pure kitsch:

Here's some royalty:

Not to give 2016 short shrift, here's, I'm guessing, the best performance of the night:

Forty-eight years. A lot has changed and a lot hasn't. Talent is talent. The cool thing of the moment isn't cool at all.

I've suddenly got a craving for some Kraft caramels.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Someone Should Invent...

...a software program that analyzes one's musical collection, and tells them which era contained the best music.

I'm guessing, for most people, it's not the seventies.

I uploaded all my music onto Google Music, once, on a whim, because I thought it would be cool to be able to listen to my music anytime, anywhere.

Well, I never used it until yesterday, at work. I was tired of all the talk radio blah, blah, blah, so I thought, in order to get through that last day of the week, I'd queue up my Google Music and listen to that for a change.

I set it for "shuffle".

The very first song that queued up was "Play That Funky Music", from the seventies, as you know.

But the funny thing is, I never once, in the course of approximately six hours, heard another song from the seventies.

The seventies was not the epitome of good music.

Oh sure, you can quibble about it; point out the big hits from that decade. Anyone can do that with any decade; just pick out the best songs.

But, let's be honest. It was a lost decade of music, overall. Not just in rock, but in country as well.

I don't know...what I remember about country music during that time period is Charley Pride rehashing songs that were semi-hits in the rock genre. Dave & Sugar ~ remember them? Eddie Rabbitt ~ okay, I like Eddie Rabbitt.

Yes, you had your "After The Fire Is Gone", by Conway and Loretta. And you had your "Behind Closed Doors".

But you also had a whole lot of John Denver. And while I appreciate John Denver more today, that stuff was pure poison when it was happening.

And rock?

Well, sure, we had the Eagles.

And we had "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" and "Let's Get It On".

But let's be real.

THAT'S not what we remember from the seventies.

THIS is what we remember:

Along with any number of songs by Billy Joel, this goes down in history as most likely my LEAST favorite song of all time.

Sure, feel free to listen to all seven and whatever number of minutes of this song. I got the gist basically from the first verse and chorus. Talk about self-indulgent. You know, the Beatles rarely did songs that were even THREE minutes long. And look where that got them.

And, while we're on the subject of annoying songs, how about this one? Don't even tell me that you LIKE this. How could that be? It's repetitive and boring. And mundane. Additionally, it is non-sensical. Although I suppose that never stopped anyone before. I won't listen to it, but here it is, for the 1% of persons alive who have never heard this song before:

You probably won't believe this, but this song was HUGE in the seventies. Yes, really:

But thinking about it, it kind of fits with this song:

Still lovin' those seventies?

How about this?

Remember the Starland Vocal Band? Of course not! But lead singer, Alan Colmes, had a huge, and I mean HUGE, hit with this song:

And speaking of John Denver, apparently he was easy to please. Just give him some sunshine on his "shoulders". Not on his hands. Not on his face. No, on his shoulders:

And who can forget Kenny Nolan? Apparently me, because who the heck? Yet, this was a big hit in that seventies pantheon. And who doesn't love harp music?

And don't even tell me that when you hear this song:

You don't think of Eddie Murphy. Because I do. And I never hesitate to sing along:

Unce, tice
Fee tines a may-dee

Sure, reunited and it feels so good. To them, maybe:

I sincerely love how Terry Jacks performs this song with so much emotion. As if it really means something (which it doesn't):

And, of course, there are times when a woman has to say what's on her mind, but I'm thinking this is NOT the time:

I really love Glen Campbell, but that doesn't blind me to his missteps. And here's one, albeit another big hit:

So, don't go all nostalgic on me, pining for those lost days of the seventies. The seventies were crap.

I'll grant you, there were some good songs (none of them featured here, obviously). But those good songs were few and far between.

As much as you may want to re-write history, well, here it is.

I may be magnanimous and feature the GOOD songs of the seventies at some point, but really, the good songs aren't what we remember. We remember the crap.

I'm thinking that's why my Google Music selections have so few offerings from that decade. Google (and I) would prefer to just pretend it never happened.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Before 2011 Slips Away

I didn't want 2011 to slip away without mentioning this; what was, to me, the best album of the year.

Maybe it's because it's a sad, wistful story. Maybe not. I think not. I just think that the music is great. The sad, wistful part probably only has meaning to those of us who have watched our loved ones go away, no thanks to Alzheimer's Disease.

I took a nap today, and had a dream....a dream about my dad. I started walking into a room that had some type of reception going on. A wedding reception maybe. People were milling about. There was a lot of back-slapping, good to see ya, interaction. I wasn't part of the gathering; I just needed to make my way through that room to get to where I needed to go.

As I walked past the multitude of people, I saw a guy with jet black hair, starched white short-sleeved dress shirt, having a jovial conversation with another man. I stopped and thought, that looks like my dad!

I tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned, with a look of pure love, and I threw my arms around him, and kept repeating, "My daddy's back; my daddy's back!" And he hugged me so hard. And I hugged him just as hard back.

And then I woke up.

This album didn't make anybody's list of the top albums of the year. Well, except mine. And really, I don't care about anyone else's list.

It's a snowy night in Minnesota. And I hugged my dad today.

I think that's a pretty good way to end the year.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Glen Campbell ~ Ghost on the Canvas

If one remembers back to the late nineteen sixties, the emergence of Glen Campbell as a superstar was not the most welcome news to hard-core country fans.

Most people were listening to Merle and Waylon, and maybe Charley Pride; when along came this syrupy heavily-string-laden stuff, that bore really no resemblance to country music at all. Sort of like today (without the strings).

One can look back now, with rose-colored glasses, and bemoan the loss of this so-called golden age of country music; this year of 1967. Poppycock. There were some great releases, no doubt. But the tide was beginning turn. Ray Price popped up with "Danny Boy". Eddy Arnold was in string heaven, with releases such as, "Misty Blue". Sonny James, who I admit, I never quite got, was still hitting the charts. That creepy song, "Ode to Billy Joe" was huge. I like a song with an obscure meaning as much as the next guy, but was there actually a point to this song? He could have been throwing anything off that bridge. For all I know, it was an Eddy Arnold album. Which would explain a lot (no offense, Eddy, rest your soul).

So, amidst Branded Man, I Don't Wanna Play House, and Pop a Top, along came By The Time I Get To Phoenix. That song sounded dated even when it was current. I know that Jimmy Webb wrote the bible for songwriters, but I absolutely hated that song. And I still do. Maybe the song was okay, but the production.....Maybe if the producer had stuck a beat on the thing, it wouldn't have induced me into a coma.

Glen has always been a consummate musician. He was part of the Wrecking Crew, for God's sake. I don't think it was his fault. I just think that whoever was producing him (and I'm not looking it up) carried too much clout, and Glen carried little to none. I'm guessing the producer cut his teeth on Mantovani albums.

Glen did better with Gentle on My Mind, the song with two thousand verses and no chorus. But I liked it. A John Hartford song. And a John Hartford banjo.

And he had perhaps the best track of his career with Wichita Lineman (yes, Jimmy Webb did better this time around).

And then Glen had some lost years, which is neither here nor there. In 1975 (what is it about years that have "7" in them?), he had a huge hit with Rhinestone Cowboy. You like that one? Really? I realize Larry Weiss (and yea, I did have to look that up) has had a bunch of cuts, and I have had zero, but life isn't really fair, now, is it?

So, I've had a like/hate relationship with Glen Campbell's music for about what......44 years?? What?? No way am I that old!

But when I read that he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it made me very sad. My dad had Alzheimer's. It's a cruel, heartless disease.

Then, later, I read that he was embarking on one last tour. Good idea? I don't know ~ time will tell, I guess.

Finally, I found that he had recorded an album. His last. "Ghost on the Canvas". I was naturally curious. I clicked on some samples on Amazon, and I really liked what I heard. Really liked.

So, I downloaded the CD today. I actually went out to purchase the CD, but alas. I wasn't about to drive all over town today, so I went to my neighborhood Target store, in the futile hope that they would be carrying it. Ha! I did see some offerings by people named Dierks and Billy (oh, probably a bunch of Billys), and Trace and Chance and Community Chest. However, I didn't pass "GO", since there were no Glen Campbell CD's in the "C" section. (And I'm sure that Trace and Billy(s) have all made stellar CD's, ones that will stand the test of time, if the test of time is approximately three minutes long).

Call me old (fashioned), but when there is a CD I really want, I like to own it in physical form. I'm thinking, believe it or not, that if I can find the CD anywhere, I still might buy it!

Because this is: THE BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

It might be just me, but I always viewed Glen Campbell as sort of flip. When he was strutting onstage, doing Rhinestone Cowboy, I thought, he doesn't really believe in this song. It's a joke to him. (And to us.)

When he was weighted down with heavy strings on those early songs, I thought, well, he's finally got a career going, so he's going to pretend like the songs actually mean something to him.

This album, I will just say it now, made me cry.

There are no pauses between tracks. It's as if Glen had important things to say, and he had to say them in a hurry.

And he wrote or co-wrote the majority of the tracks.

Be forewarned. This is not a CD to play when you're looking for some light, fluffy entertainment.

Glen is not flip.

Glen is serious, philosophical, loving, warm, and reflective.

My favorite track was written by Robert Pollard, called, "Hold On Hope" (and I do know ~ now ~ that this was previously recorded by another artist, but it is so appropriate here):

Every street is dark
And folding out mysteriously
Where lies the chance we take to be
Always working
Reaching out for a hand that we
can't see
Everybody's got a hold on hope
It's the last thing that's holding me

Invitation to the last dance
Then it's time to leave
But that's the price we pay
when we deceive
One another/animal mother
She opens up for free
Everybody's got a hold on hope
It's the last thing that's
holding me

Look at the talk box in mute
At the station
There hides the cowboy
His campfire flickering
on the landscape

That nothing grows on
But time still goes on
And through each life of misery
Everybody's got a hold on hope
It's the last thing that's holding me

And I've gotta hand it to him: Jimmy Webb wrote a great one. It's called, "Wish You Were Here". And "I Wish You Were Here" is so heartbreaking, in light of the circumstances.

Dear friend of mine, the weather's fine
Today I saw some ruins of the Roman world's decline
And I climbed all those Spanish steps, you've heard of them no doubt
But Rome has lost its glory, I don't know what it's about

I wish you were here
(when the shadows fall and all the rushing traffic stills)
I wish you were here
(and the bells are ringing on the seven hills)
I make my way to a small cafe
I wonder what you did today
Wish you were here

Dear one at home, i just flew in from Rome
And Paris is a postcard all decked in color chrome
And so I climbed the Eiffel Tower and prayed at Notre Dame
But I just can't find the romance and I wonder why I came

I wish you were here
(on the Champs Elysees, lovers walking hand in hand)
I wish you were here
(they take one look at me and seem to understand)
This city of light is a lovely sight
The first bright star I see tonight
Wish you were here

Now I write this from the plane
Drinking cheap champagne
Wonderin' why two people got so far apart

I wish you were here
(here in London where the rain is pouring down)
I wish you were here
(on this airplane headed back to New York town)
I'll never leave you alone again
I'm coming home, but until then
Wish you were here
Wish you were here
Wish you were here

I don't know what to say, other than, buy this CD.

I don't know if I will want to cheer....or cry......when this is named album of the year. A little of both, I guess. Deliriously happy, but sad.

Here are some clips of Glen singing, and then talking about Ghost on the Canvas

My. Oh my.