Showing posts with label chet atkins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chet atkins. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The CMA Awards - What's New In 1982!

I don't like to prejudice you right off the bat, but welcome to one of the most boring awards years ever!

Yes, 1982. I think people were feeling kind of apathetic. "Oh, just pick someone. We don't really care."

And, in scanning the news events of the year, it appears that nothing really happened.

Even in pop culture, things looked bleak. The most popular TV shows were horrid - empty calories, to be sure: Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon Crest, The Love Boat, Magnum, PI, The A Team:

Popular music? Ish. Here are some of the hit songs: Ebony and Ivory, Abracadabra (I wanna reach out and grab ya), I Can't Go For That (oh no - no can do!), I Love Rock and Roll (which is basically the title repeated over and over).

The movies were atrocious. If it hadn't been for E.T., I think everyone would have just stayed home and watched The Love Boat.

So, that kind of tells you what's coming, in the world of the CMA awards.

To start things off, CHET ATKINS was named INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR for the thousandth time. Again, who doesn't love Chet Atkins? But I'm thinkin' there were some other guys around, playing instruments, too.

The VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR once again were DAVID FRIZZELL and SHELLY WEST. As I mentioned in my 1981 post, there are no videos available of David and Shelly performing. Now, seeing as how one can find pretty much anything they could ever dream of on YouTube, I just have this nagging suspicion that there's some kind of legal stuff involved with the "no videos" situation.

But, two can play at that game.

If we can't have David and Shelly, then let's go with the relatives. First, here's Mom:

Despite the hair, this is still one of the best country songs ever (and Dottie wrote it).

And now - David's brother:

Wow, one of Merle Haggard's heroes - can you tell? I never realized just HOW similar their voices are. Hearing this (and not seeing it), I would be hard-pressed to tell if it was Lefty or Merle.

So, the lack of David/Shelly videos actually opened up an opportunity for me to post some superior performances. Ha ha! I win again!

The INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR and VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR were once again ALABAMA. The introduction to this video states 1983, but this song was released in 1982 - I looked it up. With introductions by two of my all-time faves, Tammy Wynette and Ray Stevens, here's Mountain Music:

Some great fiddling by Jeff Cook!

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR was awarded to someone new this time - JANIE FRICKE.

An interesting fact about Janie is that she began her career as a background singer in Nashville. During that period, she recorded an uncredited vocal part for a single released by Johnny Duncan, "Stranger" (written by Kris Kristofferson). Nobody knew who the female singer was, and there was a bunch of speculation about who it could be. (Hers was, to me, the best part of the recording). This event led to Janie's solo recording career. Again, there is no video of this song, but here's a nice picture of a radio to look at while you listen to it:

And here's the actual Janie, in person:

It's relatively easy to wrap up three categories at once; those being SINGLE OF THE YEAR, ALBUM OF THE YEAR, and SONG OF THE YEAR.

Ya gotta love Willie. He's just a likeable guy. Watching him perform, you just feel relaxed (as is Willie from......well, you know).

So, Willie scored big at the 1982 awards, as did writers Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James, with:

ALWAYS ON MY MIND - Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year

(How many writers does it take to write a hit song? Insert your own punch line here.)

Kind of an interesting development in 1982 was that the person who won the HORIZON AWARD (for best newcomer) also won the MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR award. I guess his career was on a fast track!

Well, this guy has had quite a career, and to think it all started with the Horizon Award. Ricky is a bluegrass artist at heart, but he managed to co-mingle bluegrass and country and shake up country music a bit.


(This is one of them new-fangled "music videos". Sorry I couldn't find any older live performances by Ricky, so this'll have to do.)

That leads us, of course, to the big event of the evening, ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.

I'll just say right now, I blew it by posting their "better" song already above, but since I want to stay chronologically correct, here's a song that was released in 1981, just in time for the 1982 awards.

Don't worry - they had A BUNCH of other songs, and won A BUNCH of other awards in years to come, so there'll be more opportunities to watch:



There were three inductees in 1982. I think the CMA figured they'd better start playing catch-up, and fast.

Roy Horton

This whole CMA blogging thing has given me an education in the roots of country music, since I am unfamiliar with some of these names. For example, Roy Horton.

Roy started his career around 1939, as a bass player. He backed up a guy called Red River Dave (not to be confused with my Red River Dave).

In the 1940's he became a promoter with Peer-Southern Music, and helped to promote the careers of artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, Bill Monroe, among many others.

Here's some rare (and very cool) footage of Jimmy Rodgers (another of Merle's heroes, by the way), singing, "Waiting For A Train" :

Lefty Frizzell

I swear, I had no idea when I posted a video of Lefty above, that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982. Weird coincidence!

Lefty recorded many, many classic songs. For some reason, he's not well remembered, except by the likes of Merle Haggard. And I'm not sure why.

He obviously had a huge influence on other artists (notice in this video how George Jones apparently picked up a few style pointers).

I'm thoroughly enjoying watching videos of Lefty, and while this one is of really poor quality (from an early, early Porter Wagoner Show performance), it's still a lot of fun to see:

Here's one more:

Lefty died at the very young age of 47 in 1975, after a hard-lived life. That happens a lot to true artists. The ones who make it "to December" (like Merle), I think are basically just lucky.

Marty Robbins

Well, gee. I wrote a whole long blog post about Marty Robbins awhile back, because you can't write about Marty in a couple of sentences. If you want to read my post about Marty, click here (and then scroll up, because for whatever reason, the links always land you at the bottom of the post! It's aggravating.)

So, all I can really say is that when I watch videos of Marty, I realize once again what we lost when Marty passed away. He was only 57.

Marty was also a hero of Merle's, so somehow these posts tend to develop a continuity all their own.

Here's Marty, as only Marty can be:

So, there you go; 1982. If it hadn't been for the Hall of Fame inductees, it would have been a relatively boring year.

But we always manage to find something fun, and this time was no exception.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1981

Ahhh, the eighties are a'rollin' now! We got past that first hurdle - 1980 - so now it's onwards and upwards!

Think back to 1981, if you can. I couldn't. So I looked it up. There were, of course, some major events that year (as in every year - duh). And most of those events seemed to revolve around President Ronald Reagan. "Well", he started out his year just being shot. Not a good way to start your year. Later, he fired the striking air traffic controllers, and he named the first woman to the Supreme Court (which, in hindsight, wasn't a real great choice).

Not to be outdone, Pope John Paul II was also shot.......twice.

Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. (He later asked, "Couldn't I have just been shot?")

In pop culture, Blondie and Hall & Oates and Dolly Parton, along with Sheena Easton, all had big hit records.

Clint Eastwood was starring with a chimp in the sequel, "Any Which Way You Can". And Burt Reynolds was camping it up in "Cannonball Run".

CBS was leading the TV hit parade, with shows such as "M*A*S*H", "Dallas", "The Jeffersons", and, of course:

And, you know, they kep' a'showin' his hands, but not his face on TV (3rd reference! - I'm a'goin' for a record!)

Which leads us into the 1981 CMA's.........

Strangely, the CMA voters liked the 1980 SONG OF THE YEAR so much, they decided to award it twice!

Yes, that's right. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" was again named song of the year. Writers Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman couldn't have been more pleased. Not to mention the repeat MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR winner, George Jones.

And here's the man himself, performing on, surprise! The 1981 CMA Awards telecast. (He knew the song pretty well by now.)

Our FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR was, well waddaya know - Barbara Mandrell! Sort of a letdown after the previous year's entertainer win, but still! And she won the award by recording crappy songs such as:

Almost as bad as "Sleepin' Single In A Double Bed", but not quite.

The HORIZON AWARD winner in 1981 was Terri Gibbs. Yes, she only had one hit song, but these horizon awards are tricky to predict. Who knew? Wonder whatever happened to Terri. Well, wonder no more. Here's Terri's official website: Terri Gibbs

I always kinda liked Terri. She seemed quite geniune. Here's the only performance I could find on YouTube of Terri doing her big hit number, "Somebody's Knockin'":

Chet Atkins again won INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR. No offense to Chet, but, you know, there were other musicians in Nashville around this time.

The ALBUM OF THE YEAR couldn't have gone to a nicer or more deserving fellow. This album went platinum, and rightly so. "I Believe In You" by Don Williams.

The VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR had one of my favorite country songs. Strangely, there are no videos to be found of the two performing this song. Probably some legal mumbo jumbo or something.

But I did find some embeddable audio of DAVID FRIZZELL and SHELLY WEST performing, "You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma":

DAVID FRIZZELL & SHELLY WEST-Youre The Reason God Made Oklahoma.mp3 -

Both of these artists have a pedigree, per se. David is the brother of legend Lefty Frizzell, and Shelly is Dottie West's daughter.

Interestingly, this song was featured in a 1981 movie, which I just happened to reference at the beginning of this post; Clint Eastwood's "Any Which Way You Can". That might have helped them win the award; I don't know. But I still really like this song.

Since I can't find any videos of the two performing together (I'm thinking there might be bad blood between them; what do you think?), here's a link to a CD of duets and solo tracks by David and Shelly (Hey! David and Shelly! That's like my husband and me! Hopefully there's not any bad blood between us.)

The SINGLE OF THE YEAR was kind of a "fun" song, starring the Oak Ridge Boys. Well, technically starring Joe Bonsall, Richard Sterban, and William Lee Golden's boots. Here's another performance from the 1981 CMA Awards telecast (which is always nice, since I'm talking about 1981) of "Elvira".

This is but a simple song, that continues to rise to a higher key as it goes along. Which makes it much easier for R. Sterban to hit those "low" notes. And is it just me, or is Richard kind of drunk with power on this number? Every time he does his "oom papa oom papa mou mou", the audience squeals. Heady stuff, no doubt. You gotta feel kinda bad for Duane Allen, though. He doesn't have any room to shine on this number. Even William Lee's boots get more attention than poor Duane.

Say what you will about the Oak Ridge Boys. They were superstars way back when, and I certainly enjoyed seeing them in concert. And, if you want to catch up with the "boys", just click here

In keeping with the "four man" theme, we now come to both the INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR and the VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR.

I don't exactly know how they won the instrumental group award, unless it was for Jeff Cook's mean fiddle, but nevertheless, they won. And mark my words, they would continue to win awards for years to come.

Who am I talking about? Why, Alabama, of course.

Just a bit of background that matters to no one but me......In my small town, way back when, the concerts were few and far between. So, one went to basically any concert that was available. And Alabama was certainly a touring band! I saw them many, many........many times. Sometimes I couldn't really "see" them, because I was sitting high up in the nosebleed section. But I could still spot Randy's beard a mile away! I sort of became jaded. "Oh, here we go; Alabama........again." But that's kind of cruel and undeserved. If it hadn't been for Alabama, I'd have been sitting home on a Friday night, watching Johnny Carson doing his Floyd R. Turbow skit for the thousandth time. Not that I don't love Johnny, but one really needed to get out of the house once in awhile.

So, here we are, at the end of the awards ceremony......except for, hello! ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.

No doubt, it was time to head into the kitchen to serve myself up some crackers and cheese, because he we go! Another LONG acceptance speech.

While Barbara was thrilled, thrilled to pieces, to win the entertainer of the year award in 1980, she was shocked - SHOCKED, mind you, to win it again in 1981! And there were SO many people to thank. Especially the little people. No, not the little people from the Wizard of Oz. Silly. The little people like YOU. The FANS. Without whom none of this would have been possible. And GOD. So, in essence, the little people and God.

I know that I come off as not liking Barbara Mandrell, but that's not true. What I didn't like were her insincere acceptance speeches. If she'd just performed, and NOT TALKED, I would have been happy as a clam!

Here's a performance of Barbara's from around that time.

And before we take a gander at it, let me just say that, no, she wasn't country when country wasn't cool. Barbara, in fact, can shoulder a lot of the blame for steering country in the direction that it's gone.

Barbara, with the scores of costume changes. Barbara, with the background dancing troop. Yes, Barbara wanted to expand her horizons, and there's nothing wrong with that. But at what cost?

She was the "pre-Reba". Both of them started out as "country" singers. Then their ambition led them to places where no self-respecting country fan wanted them to go.

And now we've got this mess to clean up.

And, ironically, Barbara now sounds "country", compared to the ones who've followed in her footsteps. See, give 'em an inch........

Here's what country used to sound like, way back when:


Vernon Dalhart was an early pioneer of country music. With songs such as, "The Prisoner's Song" and "Wreck of the Old '97", he scored some of country music's first million-selling records.

It's important that we not forget from whence we came. Yea, he was country when country wasn't cool.

Here are the Statler Brothers, performing "Wreck of the Old '97":

Grant Turner

Grant Turner was the voice of the Grand Ol' Opry for 47 years. 47 years! Yowza! He was the only disc jockey to be inducted into the hall of fame until the year 2007, when my friend and yours, Ralph Emery, got his just due. Not too shabby, Grant Turner!

So, the nice thing about the year 1981 was that we saw some new faces emerge. No doubt, as the eighties wind around, we'll see many of these same folks again. But it's always nice to recognize some new talent.

Not a changing of the guard, per se, but a new day dawning on the landscape that is the CMA awards.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1969

The third annual CMA awards, in 1969, were, like 1967's, kind of a rout. One guy took home five of the ten awards.

But, before we get to the big winner of the evening, let's take a look at some of the other winners, shall we?

SONG OF THE YEAR Carroll County Accident - recorded by Porter Wagoner, written by Bob Ferguson

See? Porter actually had hit songs even before Dolly came along! This was, by far, Porter's biggest solo hit.

I'm not saying that one could listen to this song over and over, because, face it, once you know the "punch line" (so to speak), it kinda takes the fun out of it.

(This is coming out all wrong; I don't mean to imply that the song is funny or fun; although it is pretty corny, when you think about it.)

I will say that my friend, Alice, and I did rewrite the words to this song, and that actually was funny.

But, getting back to the song....You gotta love Buck Trent's electric banjo.


Here's Tammy doing one of the songs that won her the female vocalist award in 1969, "I Don't Wanna Play House". This song was written by Billy Sherrill and Glenn Sutton (who just passed away this week). Sherrill and Sutton wrote other hits songs for Tammy, including another of my favorites, "Take Me To Your World", as well as many, many hit songs for David Houston.

As you know by now, Tammy is one of my all-time favorite singers. And very classy, as demonstrated by this performance. Miss you, Tammy.


Chet Atkins


Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass

Yup, Chet won again - third year in a row! And for the first time, Danny and his Brass took home the instrumental group honors.

Sadly, I cannot find any videos on YouTube of the Brass's performances, but here is two birds, one stone:

Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass with Chet Atkins (not a "video", per se - sorry):

I liked the Nashville Brass. It was an acquired taste, to be sure. There wasn't a lot of "brass" being heard on country records at the time (or ever), except for "Ring Of Fire".

I wasn't aware that Danny was actually a producer for RCA Records, and (not surprisingly) the story is that Waylon pulled a gun on him at one point. Apparently, they did not work well together (although if I have a problem with a co-worker, I just generally try to avoid them. Gunplay is frowned upon in my office.)

Anyway, with Waylon nowhere in sight, Chet and Danny put together this number, and the song was always a favorite of my dad's (as recorded by Billy Vaughn).


You know, I can kinda see why the CMA eventually did away with this award. Rarely do music awards feature "comedian" categories. You know, the Grammys and what-not. And by rarely, I mean "never".

Because, what's comedy got to do with music? (Oops, what century am I living in? It's got everything to do with music nowadays, albeit not intentionally.)

But, with this category, I can see where country music got its "hick" reputation. I mean, c'mon guys (and gals), couldn't we just focus on the music? Did we really need to hand out an award to some refugee from Hee Haw? I'm not trying to come off as an elitist; I just don't (and didn't ever) find this stuff very funny.

But anyway, with that rousing introduction, here's Archie Campbell (God love 'em):

The good news is, this award was only given out one more year.

And now we get to the "rout" portion of our awards presentation. We'll start it off with the:

SINGLE OF THE YEAR A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash

Hey! This version doesn't have the, "I'm the BOOOOOP that named you Sue"! Kind of a surprise! Man, censorship was tough back then! They say a lot worse stuff now! And, you know, there's a difference between "swear words" and stuff that's TRULY offensive.

Anyway, this was the original version, recorded live at San Quentin, and released as a single (with the "BOOOOP", of course.) And there's Carl Perkins on guitar!

Nice to see this. Johnny looks like he was having a heck of a time, and the inmates were, too. Bet Merle was wishing he was still incarcerated, so he could have been there (okay, maybe not).


Johnny Cash At San Quentin

You gotta hand it to old Johnny. Who else was putting on concerts in prisons back then? Nobody. And he was having a good time, you can tell. I think he deserved the album of the year award, not only because "albums" weren't country music's forte back then, but because he had the moxey (I wanted to use a different word) to go to San Quentin and entertain those guys.

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR Johnny Cash & June Carter

There are several versions of this song available on YouTube, but for historical accuracy, I wanted to feature a performance from that era.

Oh, and coincidentally, they were introduced by that master of mirth himself, Archie Campbell!


Surprise! Johnny Cash

This is a fun video to watch. Look how young the Statler Brothers look here! And there's Lew DeWitt! I don't know if you know this, but a lot of people don't: June Carter did not sing the "mama sang tenor" part on the recording. I guess she was unavailable or something, but it was Jan Howard who sang the part on the record.

A side note, if you will permit: While June may be (okay, is) the most famous Carter Sister, have you ever heard Anita sing? She had a pure, lovely voice.

I found a rare video treat, and while it doesn't have anything to do with the 1969 CMA awards, I have to share:

Hey, who's that guy she's singing with? I think he might have had some country songs that hit the charts awhile back. Can't think of his name, though........


Gene Autry

Okay, here's what I know about Gene Autry in a nutshell (and it's a very small shell): He did cowboy movies (or serials); he sang cowboy songs; he recorded "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"; he wore a big white hat; his biggest non-holiday song was, "Back In The Saddle Again".

You know, I haven't lived forever! I don't know about people who came to prominence in the 1940's.

Anyway, here's a compendium of Gene Autry snippets:

Interestingly, while researching Gene Autry, I found that he recorded this song, and since 1969 was definitely Johnny Cash's year, how about this for a finale:

So, all in all, for 1969's CMA awards, pretty much everybody could have stayed home, except for Tammy Wynette, because the female vocalist award was the one category that Johnny wasn't eligible to win.

Kudos, Johnny! Good work. You came a long way from Dyess, Arkansas.

1970 is next! A personal favorite of mine!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1968

1968 was the first year that the CMA awards were televised; on CBS, I think.

I remember these awards, for their low point in cutting off Bob Wills, as he was starting to make his speech, after being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He got to the stage, opened his mouth to speak, and suddenly we were "joining our regularly scheduled news broadcast, already in progress."

Even at my young age, I knew that was just rude. And disrespectful.

I don't care who you are or how young you may be. If you like George Strait, even a little bit (?), you need to know about Bob Wills. Watch this:

So, Bob Wills was disrespected in 1968. Hold on. It gets worse.


Honey - recorded by Bobby Goldsboro, written by Bobby Russell

Okay, it's a difficult choice, but I would have to say that this is my MOST HATED SONG OF ALL TIME.

Shall we count the ways in which this song is PUTRID? Sappy, yes. But more than that. Words really cannot describe. Suffice it to say that I was SO GLAD that Honey hit that tree with her car. Had she not, I would have had to take matters into my own hands. Honey was a bimbo. She deserved to die. I mean, if you can't even drive your car to the market without ramming into a tree, then your existence is some stupid freak of nature, and yet, some clueless poor sap is now SINGING about you and eulogizing your rank stupidity, and we all have to suffer the consequences.

But knowing Bobby Goldsboro, he also loved his bowl of Rice Krispies (remember the story told, ad nauseum, about how he stepped on a Rice Krispie kernel, and hurt his foot? I think he told Merv, Johnny, Joey, and any local-cable access guy who would listen about his stupid Rice Krispie incident, and it didn't even have a punch line!)

So now, Bobby's mourning the loss of his Rice Krispies, which, sadly had more intelligence in their individual kernels than HONEY had in her vast wasteland of a brain pan.

Moving on (while monitoring my blood pressure), let's look at the:


Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Riley

This song was written by Tom T. Hall, so basically any connection to this song has to be limited to someone with a middle initial prominently displayed.

I don't have any quibbles with this song, except for the fact that it was played over and over and over....and over.

This style of song would never make it nowadays. It really is all verses. There's no chorus. Certainly there's no bridge. Tom was lucky that he was writing at a time when one didn't need to conform to a standard pattern of songwriting. He would just be poor and working at a 7-11, moaning about the fact that nobody will listen to his songs. Join the club, Tom.


Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash

Again, not to come off as being a chronic bitcher, but how many damn times do we need to hear this song? Yea, I know. Key of E. I played it, too. Didn't you? Didn't everyone?

Again, do you think in your wildest dreams that a song like this would make it nowadays? Ha! (as Johnny would say). You'd be patted on the head and sent off on your way back to your factory job, shame nipping at your heels. You'd join old Tom T. Hall, working at the 7-11 and bitching about how A&R guys have no taste; no taste at all, in music.


Tammy Wynette

Whew! Something I can get behind, finally! What can I say about Tammy Wynette? I am just in awe of her talent. I miss Tammy. We'll not see the likes of Tammy again, well, probably never. Like Patsy, someone like Tammy comes along once in, what, 50 years?

Here's the song that probably won her the award in 1968:


Glen Campbell

This single was released in 1967, so it probably played a major role in Glen winning the male vocalist award in 1968. It was written by John Hartford.

I like this one. I know that Glen tended to record Jimmy Webb songs, and I like some of those. But this is just a nice, folky kind of song (that has a lot of verses, if you study it) and it has a banjo! And didn't Glen use this as his theme song for his show on CBS? So, I guess he liked it, too.


Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton

Okay, I wouldn't technically call Porter and Dolly a "group", but there wasn't a "duo" category back then, so there you go.

Porter and Dolly went on to win this award countless times, deservedly so. Their major competition, at least for awhile, was Conway and Loretta, so I think there might have been some knock-down, drag-out fights in the alley of the Ryman Auditorium, over who was the better duo. But alas, Conway didn't want to muss up his oily slicked-back "coiff", so Porter won.

Here's a 1967 song, that probably garnered this duo their first (of many) awards:


Ben Colder

Okay, it's maybe an acquired taste. Maybe you had to be there. But I frankly find Ben Colder (Sheb Wooley) funny. "Ben Colder here". She said, "It ain't been no colder here than anyplace else".

What Ben (Sheb) did was take-off's on popular songs, in a drunken, debauched kind of way. So here's "Almost Persuaded # 2 1/2":

The INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR and INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR repeated from 1967: Chet Atkins and The Buckaroos. Take a look back at my previous post to see a sampling of their wonderful performances.


Glen Campbell

Yes, Glen was at his peak in 1968. I like Glen better now than I did back then. It was, to be honest, a stretch to call what he was doing "country". Jimmy Webb is a wildly successful songwriter, and I love his song, "Galveston". I just don't really like this one. But it put Glen in the catbird seat, and made him entertainer of the year for 1968.

Are we having fun yet? I am. I like this retrospective of the CMA awards, year by year.

And if 1968 sucked, and you know it did, just hold on. It starts to get better, as the years go by.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The First CMA Awards - 1967

Interestingly, while the Country Music Association itself was formed in 1958, for some reason, they didn't give out any awards until 1967. That seems like kind of a ripoff to those artists who had great songs prior to 1967. I guess they lost out, and their only hope was to live to be old enough to get inducted into the Hall of Fame. (Although I'm pretty sure that probably didn't exactly cross their minds at the time.)

One thing I applaud the earlier awards for, is their relatively small number of categories! Only ten! You know how I feel about how this whole thing has gotten entirely out of hand. But, back in 1967, they kind of kept things in perspective (although they did have a Comedian of the Year category, which, not surprisingly has fallen by the wayside. Unless you count Jessica Simpson.)

While I can't find a list of nominees for 1967, I do have the list of winners.

The 1967 CMA awards were not televised. So, I guess they met in some Shriner's hall or something, and had some drinks and basically watched Jack Greene run up to the podium every ten minutes, as you will see from the winners' list below.

There Goes My Everything, Jack Greene

There Goes My Everything, Jack Greene

There Goes My Everything - recorded by Jack Greene, written by Dallas Frazier

Jack Greene

Well, then, let's hear it! And before we get to the video, I would just like to mention - remember Dallas Frazier? A great writer. I could do a whole video blog post of just Dallas Frazier songs.

A few years may have passed, but Jack can still do it well! Jack was originally a member of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours. He was ET's drummer before going out on his own.

My favorite Jack Greene recording is "Statue Of A Fool". Check it out when you have the chance.

One award that Jack didn't win in 1967 was:

Loretta Lynn

Tammy hadn't really hit yet at the time these awards were presented. And prior to Tammy, at least in the sixties, Loretta was the gal. Good old Buffalo Lynn, as I call her, because I got her autograph at Panther Hall sometime around 1964, and I swear she signed it "Buffalo Lynn". It's not my fault she has terrible handwriting.

Since the awards were presented in 1967, I'm thinking that they were honoring work from the previous year, so here's Loretta with a MAJOR hit from 1966:

Wow - that was fun! I really love watching videos like this from the sixties. I'll just ignore the fact that she was performing on that sexist Doyle (or Teddy?) Wilburn's show, but didn't she look young and cute?

I know this is really nitpicky, but was she actually playing that guitar? Cuz, first of all, I think that song was in the key of A, and for the key of A, that's the weirdest finger position I've ever seen, and I don't see a capo on her guitar. PLUS, she keeps taking her fingers off the frets. I don't know how you can play a chord if you're constantly letting go of the guitar. So, I thnk the guitar was a prop. But that's okay. You wouldn't see too many "girl" singers nowadays even pretending to play guitar.

The Stonemans

Now, I know my country music history, but I admit, I don't know anything about this group, really. But, in perusing YouTube, I did find some videos, and my impression is, first of all, they are bluegrass; not country. But that's okay. Country music embraces bluegrass, after all. You know, with Bill Monroe, and more recently, Marty Stuart.

Secondly, I guess they kind of tried to fill that "novelty" niche, because if you watch this, it's kinda weird. You got the one girl who's, shall we say, overly enthusiastic. Then you've got the other one who maintains the "stone face" throughout the entire number.

So, not my cup of tea, really. But, I think this was a transition period, and this group was one of the last remnants of the older stuff. Plus, I guess the only other "group" around at that time was the Statler Brothers, and they got their share of statuettes later, believe me.

And these guys were good musicians:

Chet Atkins

What can be said about Chet Atkins that hasn't already been said? He is most certainly a legend. Chet was in charge at RCA around this time, so how could they afford to not give him this award? (just kidding)

Chet's gotten a lot of flack about creating the "Nashville Sound", and how that ruined country music, but I think there's both good and bad to be said about that. Country music had to survive, number one. So, he did what he needed to do. And so he put strings behind Jim Reeves. Didn't hurt Jim's career now, did it? I read that Willie Nelson just couldn't work with Chet, because of the syrupy strings, but okay, it wasn't right for Willie, but it worked for others.

So, I don't know. I don't care for the Anita Kerr Singers horning in on every country record, either, but that stuff still sounds way better than the stuff they're putting out today.

Anyway, don't forget that Chet was first and foremost a musician. Here he is on the Johnny Cash Show:

The Buckaroos

They don't have this award anymore. Cuz it's all about ME. ME, in the spotlight. The band is just incidental. They're interchangeable. Rock and roll still embraces the concept of a BAND. Country music used to. A lot of stars' bands used to put out albums of their own. I can cite The Strangers, for one. The Po' Boys are another. And these albums were GOOD.

Of course, it's hard to top the Buckaroos. When the band was in its prime, it featured, of course, Don Rich, and also Tom Brumley on steel, Doyle Holly on bass, Willie Cantu on drums. And they won GRAMMYS. Not to mention, they had really pretty "outfits" (or "costumes" or "uniforms" or whatever the male species calls its ensembles).

Here's the Buckaroos at their best:

The fiddle was not Don's original instrument. And I hear that's a HARD instrument to learn.

Don was taken before his time, in 1974. Buck never got over it.

Don Bowman

Okay, I got nothin' here. I remember Ben Colder (been colder here), but I just don't remember Don Bowman.

And YouTube is of little help. Here's one, but it's not a video, per se. Just some pictures and graphics and the original recording.

And humor is relative. But here's Don Bowman:

Eddy Arnold

Of course, entertainer of the year is the most coveted CMA award.

Watching this video, one sees the ease with which Eddy performed. As you know, Eddy passed away this year. A lot of his songs were more "country pop" than country, but he opened the doors for country music beyond the Nashville city limits.

This one is short, but it's Eddy's most famous song:


Red Foley

Red Foley was really before my time. (I'm not as old as the hills, you know.) But I do know this song, obviously. The video quality is poor, but this was the best I could find of:


J.L. (Joe) Frank

I understand that Mr. Frank was a country music promoter in the early days. He promoted Eddy Arnold, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, and Gene Autry, among others. I guess he was pretty brave, promoting those "hillbillies". We may not know these guys, but they paved the way.

Jim Reeves

I'll just say it. I am not a Jim Reeves fan. That doesn't negate the impact he made on country music in the early sixties. He had a niche. He was the tuxedoed guy who did the (thanks, Chet) Nashville sound recordings. He had some good songs. This just doesn't happen to be one of them (although it's his biggest hit):

And c'mon kids that were in the American Bandstand audience - what's with the screaming? You know, your parents listened to Jim Reeves. Have some teenager cred, will you? You're supposed to rebel.

Now, this one I like:

You know, the guy is long gone, so who am I to criticize? But it just seems to me that he was sort of going through the motions. Like this was his "schtick". But he was wildly successful, so....I'm just saying, he's no Bobby Bare.

So, there you have it. 1967. The first CMA awards.

We'll try to capsulize some other years as we go along.

After all, this is country music month. Oh, I guess it's not. This is still September. October used to be country music month, but now it's November. Man, it's hard to keep up with all these changes! I guess I have some time, then.