Showing posts with label flatt and scruggs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flatt and scruggs. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The CMA Awards - Lookin' Alive in '85!

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and what were we thankful for in 1985?

Well, certainly not world events. Quickly scanning the list, I find that there were a bunch of hijackings and other terroristic activities. We don't want to really dwell on that, though. This is supposed to be happy!

So, we (thankfully) move on to pop culture. On the TV front, this was one of the most popular shows; theme song sung by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams. And featuring some unknown kid named Michael J. Fox (Sit,Ubu, sit!)

In movies, coincidentally, here is the trailer for the biggest movie of the year; also starring that kid, Michael J. Fox. Wow! This trailer really wants to make me see the movie to find out what happens! (Ha! I kid! I've seen this movie about 1,537 times, and I still love it.)

Hello! McFly!

So, I'm thankful for "Back To The Future".

I'm also thankful that I get to see all the pop stars of the eighties, all in one place! This was one of the most popular recordings of 1985, and also won the Grammy award for record of the year.

And, as I said, they're all here; from Lionel Ritchie, to Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Tina Turner, Billy Joel (my favorite and yours), Michael Jackson in an isolation booth, so he doesn't "catch" anything; Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson (representing the country crowd), Al Jarreau, an overwrought Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry (!!), Daryl Hall (unfortunately John Oates was relegated to the "chorus"), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan (who was told to sing it more like "Bob Dylan"), and, of course, Ray Charles.

There were others there, too, but they, I guess, weren't good enough singers to warrant a solo. I mean, I can see Dan Ackroyd not getting a shot, but Smokey Robinson? Anyway, the song was writ' by Lionel and Michael, and the whole kaboodle was directed by Quincy Jones (you know, the dad of the girl who used to be on The Office? ha ha)

So, here you go; enjoy (especially Bruce and Bob - I know I do).

And, you know, the CMA's were not to be outdone. In 1985, they introduced a new category, MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR. So, seeing the writing on the wall, Hank Williams, Jr. thought he'd get a bunch of people together, too - although it just didn't have the same cachet as We Are The World.

So, let me see. As I watch this, I see that little Paul guy who wrote "Evergreen". What's his name again? Oh, sorry. Paul Williams. Then I see that Ernest guy, from all those dumb Ernest movies, who used to do radio commercials, where he was always talking to "Vern". There's ol' George Jones on a riding lawn mower (as if that's not a cliche). William Lee Golden (and his boots) are hitchhiking. Little Jimmy Dickens is there, too, but then, he's in every country music video (right, Brad?) Not to be outdone by William Lee, the other three Oak Ridge Boys arrive by limo (and can you blame them for making William Lee hitch a ride?) Even Waylon and Willie are there! Grandpa Jones is cleaning his window (that he always takes with him), Jim Varney shows up, because at that point, he'll take any gig offered to him). Hey, wait a minute - isn't Jim Varney the "Ernest" guy? Now I've gotten my corny comic actors mixed up! I'm missing someone - help!

But moving on, Cheech Marin stumbles out of a limo. And whaddya know? There's Kris Kristofferson and Bobby Bare! Porter shows up. And even M-M-M-Mel.

So, it sort of would be the "We Are The World" of country in 1985, had it not been for the ringers, and of course, had it actually been for something benefitting humanity, and not just a prelude to Monday Night Football. But, as it is, All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin' Over Tonight won the very first music video of the year award at the 1985 CMA's.

Does it seem like this post is all about name dropping? Well, I am going for the record!

An oddity of 1985 was that an actual "duo" got shoved into another category to make room for this one-time pairing. And even after watching the video, nothing has jogged my memory about this. But here is the VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR, Anne Murray and Dave Loggins:

Hey, I like both Dave Loggins and Anne Murray, but number one, this is not country, and two, a one-time duet doesn't deserve an "of the year" award, per se.

So, moving to the VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR podium were The Judds (and this was even before Wynonna gained her weight - so it was difficult to categorize them as a "group".)

Here they are at the 1985 Music City News Awards:

Did I mention that Chet Atkins was named INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR? Well, that's a given at this point, really.

And, oh, by the way, Ricky Skaggs and his Band* were once again named INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR.

As for FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR, well, Reba McEntire won again! If you recall, back around 1985, Reba was still "country". She was good then! And she looked "natural", as opposed to whatever she's done to herself lately.

This song is from the year that the award was bestowed, but alas, there is no actual video available. I thought it was good enough to include this "picture retrospective", however. At least we can listen to the song together, while we look at the pictures.

As the CMA was wont to do around this time, it liked certain things so much that it awarded them twice! And that's the case with the SONG OF THE YEAR. I can't actually begrudge them doing it. It's just that I maintain there were enough "new" songs/singers/et cetera to choose from, making it unnecessary to engage in reruns. Nevertheless, they liked this one a lot (and rightly so, I guess), to give the award again to Lee Greenwood for "God Bless The USA".

Last time around, I featured a live performance of the song by Lee. This time, I found the actual music video for the song. But to be honest, I can't believe this is the real music video. Because when I think about being proud of my country, the first thing I think of is not football. So, this is probably another one of those promotional things, but here it is anyway:

The SINGLE OF THE YEAR happens to be one of my favorite country songs. But wouldn't you know it, there's no video to be found of The Judds singing this live, or even in a music video.

So, let's watch the out-of-focus pictures as we listen to one of my favorites, Why Not Me.

The HORIZON AWARD went to a workhorse band, Sawyer Brown. Of course, in 1985, no one realized what a workhorse band they were. But believe me, I saw the band in concert more than a few times, so I know they were out there on the road a lot.

I don't know why, but it's really difficult to find Sawyer Brown videos anywhere. But thanks to Windy, I found a site with lots of cool Sawyer Brown videos. Click here:

Mark Miller is a cool guy. And did you know that the band got its start on a show called "Star Search", emceed by Ed McMahon? Well, I remember it. And they were a completely different band at that time - more "jaunty"; less "country". But they redeemed themselves. I just don't know why they don't allow any of their videos to be posted anywhere. But I'm sure they have their reasons.

I have sort of been saving these two awards, cuz well, this is one of the best country singers of ALL TIME. But alas, the available videos are sparse. This has something to do with MCA Records and their short-sightedness. Not to judge, but they could make George's videos available for embedding. I mean, what's it gonna hurt? For pete's sake.

But we work with what we've got (which isn't much). The MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR and ALBUM OF THE YEAR were awarded to George Strait. And no, this song isn't technically from the album of the year, Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind, but go ahead and try to find any videos from this album. Good luck. So here's another song from around that time:

This was 1985, mind you. Now it's 2008, and George is still scoring number one records. So, hmmm.......I guess we know who is a legend and who's but a flash in the pan.

That brings us to the ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR. And I do believe this is the longest CMA post that I've done, and hopefully will ever do again. I don't know how this post got out of hand, but it did. In spades.

Nevertheless, the entertainer of the year was Ricky Skaggs. And here's a number one song by Ricky - an oldie - with his mentor, Bill Monroe:

Tonight, I downloaded a bunch of Ricky Skaggs recordings from Amazon. These posts are influencing me! I had forgotten how much I liked Ricky.

Hall Of Fame

Flatt and Scruggs

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs brought bluegrass into the mainstream. And yea, they did it partly by providing the backdrop to that sixties chestnut, The Beverly Hillbillies.

But that's not Flatt and Scruggs' only claim to fame.

Here's an old video:

One of the biggest movies of 1967 was "Bonnie and Clyde". And this song set the tone:

Yes, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown".

Marty Stuart started out touring with Lester Flatt as a mere tyke. And Marty won't steer you wrong. So, take it from Marty, and take it from "Bonnie and Clyde". This bluegrass group is a legend.

Thus ends our (long) look back to the CMA's of 1985. Either there was a lot of stuff to talk about, or I have lost my editing ability. But there it is. I don't think 1986 will be quite so wordy, but time will tell.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blast From The Past - Top Country Hits Of 1963

I thought it might be nice to get back into country music a little bit, since, you know, that's sort of my niche. I got sidetracked with some stuff that ticked me off (See: Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame), and other stuff, like American Idol. And by the way, I surrender. I wasn't going to post much about AI, but it's too good and/or bad to pass up.

But to get back into the country
groooove, I just randomly picked 1963. No reason, really. I just think it's kind of fun and eye-opening to review the hits from earlier days. You know, when it actually was country music.

Good old Wikipedia hasn't failed me yet. You can find just about anything there. If you're not picky about accuracy. But I figure, how hard is it to copy and paste info from Billboard Magazine? So, I'm relatively certain that Wik's list of top songs for any given year is probably correct.

We always like to start our shows with an uptempo number, so here we go:


This is a live performance! Lucky for me to have found this! From the syndicated Buck Owens TV show. Don't you love their BRIGHT! colorful outfits? (I guess guys don't call them "outfits").

They kick off the show with "Buckaroo", which I guess must have been the theme song of the show. It's so nice to see Don Rich again, by the way.

A common misconception is that Buck wrote "Act Naturally". It was actually written by Johnny Russell. Not that it's a big deal, but I like to give credit where it's due.

So, to sum up, a hit song from 1963 not written by Buck Owens; performed in some kind of Mayan temple, BRIGHT outfits; good beat; you can two-step to it.

Seems like this performance has it all.


Is it just me, or does Dave seem kind of pissed off here? I guess being stuck in a tractor cab for six days would make anyone cranky. Suffice it to say, this is one dude you don't want to accidentally spill your drink on.

And he's hungry, too! That's just a recipe for disaster. I know he hasn't been eating well, because he had to stop to hitch up his pants in the middle of the song. He's obviously lost some weight while out on his run. And the little white pills, I hear, are good for weight loss, too.

To make matters worse, the only clean shirt he had to wear to the show was that yellow matador number. All in all, Dave was not in a good mood. Just ask the band, after he locked them out of the tour bus, and they had to hitchhike home that night.


Poor Bill. Jilted by his girl at the popcorn stand.

Little known fact ~ the reason she jilted him was because she just couldn't take his endless depressing recitations anymore.

She'd say something innocent, like, "How was your day?" And he'd launch into, "Another day, another hour, I just can't seem to get you off my mind."

"I think about your perfume as I'm making copies at the copy machine. Co-workers ask me what's wrong, and I say, oh, nothing. I'm just thinking about Sally's perfume again. And they nod. Because they can see just how much I miss your perfume".

"And then when I go to the little kitchenette to pour myself a cup of coffee, I see your laughing eyes in the coffee decanter, and I start to cry. Because I miss your laughing eyes. So, I pour a little cream in my coffee, and your eyes start to get all cloudy".

"And I sit down (on the floor, because there are no chairs in the little kitchenette), and I start to count on my fingers the hours until I can see you again."

"And Gus stops by, and he smiles, knowingly. He knows that I'm missing your laughing eyes......and your perfume."

"Eventually, I get up off the floor and go back to my cubicle. I start mindlessly shuffling papers at my desk, and in the papers, I see the swirl of your hair."

"So, in addition to your perfume and your laughing eyes, NOW I'm seeing the swirl of your golden hair."

"And my boss comes over, and he asks me, 'Did you get the Wilson report done yet?' And I look up at him with a tear in my eye. And he knows."

"He says, 'You've been writing another song about Sally with the cloudy eyes and the twirling hair and the Coty Emeraude cologne, haven't you?'"

"And I say, 'You're mostly right. It's LAUGHING eyes and SWIRLING hair. And it's HEAVEN SENT perfume'."

"But you get my drift."

"So, I've spent endless hours; okay maybe just eight hours, but they seemed endless, away from you, and now here you are."

"And you're asking me how my day was. Isn't that just like you? To ask how my day was."

"That's why I love you so much, and why I will never, ever be more than one step away from you."

"I'll be there in your thoughts, there in your dreams, there when you step outside in the morning to pick up your newspaper. That'll be me, parked at your curb, in the brown Chrysler Imperial. Trying to look inconspicuous. So, even if we're far apart (which can never happen, trust me), I love you STILL."

So, eventually Sally entered the witness protection program. Bill, to this day, writes letters to Sally (LONG letters). Ones that Sally will never read, because she has left no forwarding address.


Here's Laura Ingalls, on the banks of Plum Creek, singing........

Oh, wait. That's not Laura Ingalls. That's Skeeter Davis!

One really can't begrudge the Little House On The Prairie attire, since this was a HUGE hit for Skeeter.

It was a cross-over hit!

I like it, but there's one thing that bugs me.....and that's the stilted recitation. Has she never seen Bill Anderson?? Wow, Skeeter, you should have learned from the master!

Why. Does my heart. Go on beating.
Why. Do these eyes. Of mine cry.

It's almost believable! But not exactly.

Anyway, kudos to Skeeter on a monster hit from 1963. And she was a really nice person. So just disregard my previous comments.


I couldn't find an actual performance by F&S, so this will have to suffice.

And who could forget this classic opener, anyway?

Of course, this video raises a lot of questions:

  • If you can just shoot at the ground and strike oil, where's my shotgun?
  • What happened to MRS. Clampett? I don't want to start any rumors or anything, but she never seemed to be mentioned on the show, even in passing. I don't know if Elly May was just dropped off on Jed's shack-step or what, but if there really WAS a Mrs. Clampett, apparently, nobody ever missed her. Again, I don't want to make any assumptions, but it seems like old Jed was pretty handy with that gun.
  • Who would take a dolt like Jethro along on a move to Beverly Hills? If I was in Jed's shoes, I would have just packed up in the dark of night and pushed my jalopy out to the main road, so no one would be the wiser.
  • What does, "Welllll, Doggies" mean?
  • Did Mr. Drysdale truly only have one customer at his bank? What the hell? How bad of a banker do you have to be, if you live in Beverly Hills, and the only customer you can get is some rube from Arkansas?

Well, these are my questions. I'm sure you have many of your own.


While this is a 1968 performance, the song itself was recorded (and was a hit) in 1963. There were two versions of this video to choose from on YouTube, but I chose to go with the better quality one. Plus, by this time, Johnny'd stopped taking those "little white pills" that Dave Dudley had told him about, so he had a little more bulk on his frame.

The song was written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore, and this performance featured not only the Carter Sisters, in their HOT PINK! dresses, but also a youngish-looking Carl Perkins.

A huge hit from the year 1963.

So, to sum up, there were a lot of big hit songs, most notably those from Patsy Cline, for which I could not find videos. Alas! I don't want to leave the impression that the ones I've included here were the only hits from that year. I wish, especially, that more videos from Patsy were available on YouTube. Maybe one day they will be.

I also couldn't find videos for "Abilene", "Detroit City", and "Ruby Ann", among others. Pity. I really like those songs. And my intent is not to exclude them.

But, as we say goodbye to 1963, let me leave you with this one. After the video, I do have a comment.


Okay, TWO comments.

1. If you want to learn how to do recitation correctly, Bill and Skeeter, here's someone from which to take notes.

2. CMA Hall Of Fame voters ~ Are you forgetting someone, per chance?? C'mon. It's time.