Showing posts with label john fogerty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label john fogerty. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2013

Country Rock

Country rock is a strange subset of rock music.  It seems that the twain of country and rock should never meet; but at one time, they did.

I thought about that when I heard the song, Amie, on my oldies station today.  There is nothing about that song that even flirts fleetingly with rock music; and yet it was a hit on the rock charts.  

This performance, unfortunately, does not feature the long-since moved-on Vince Gill.

There are artists who immediately spring to mind when talking about country rock music.  I don't want to talk about those artists.

How about the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, from 1979?  An American Dream, a performance which eerily includes the voice, but not the actual physical presence of Linda Ronstadt.

Speaking of Linda Ronstadt, who knew, when she was with the Stone Poneys, that she had such a great voice?   Different Drum didn't necessarily show off Linda's vocal abilities.  Did you know that Mike Nesmith of the Monkees wrote Different Drum?  I didn't.  

Here, however, she takes a great Roy Orbison song and makes it her own; and makes it a "rock" hit:

The Beatles even dabbled in a bit of country rock, as evidenced by this song:

John Fogerty has never made any bones about his love of country, or rockabilly, music.  Creedence Clearwater Revival, while unquestionably recording songs that clearly fit within the rock and roll genre, also had a bunch of songs that skirted the line between rock and country.  Like this:

John Sebastian and his Lovin' Spoonful had a great example of country rock music, with their recording of "Darlin' Be Home Soon".  Unfortunately, the only video available for that song has big red letters flashing over it, yelling, "YOUR ARREST RECORD ONLINE!".  Bastards.  If you want to see the video, though, you can find it here.

"Daydream" is not the best example of John's country rock leanings, but it still fits.

Here are a BUNCH OF PEOPLE doing Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages", and as an added bonus, "Knockin' on Heaven's Door".  Take that, Gram Parsons.

Speaking of five old country rockers, how about these guys:

Many, many artists contributed to the birth of the country rock genre.  Eventually, though, everything became compartmentalized; and country rock was played only on country stations.  That's where we had to go to hear Dwight and Rosanne.

Country music purists once thought that the Eagles were horning in on country music ~ interlopers, they were.  The joke was on us snobs, though, in the end.  Turns out the Eagles were more country than most artists who audaciously dared to call themselves "country".

The Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 1 was a cornucopia of country rock songs.  I refused to buy that albums for years; thumbing my nose at these pretenders; these charlatans.  I don't remember what exactly I was listening to then, but the 1970's was really a lost decade for country music.  Had I just broken down and bought that blue cow's skull album, I would have regained all the faith in country music that I'd lost.

Better late than never, I say.

Here are the Eagles performing at the 2007 CMA Awards:

Country rock straddled the border between a teen girl's infatuation with rock and roll and her budding love affair with country music.  Country music could really be a bit too corny sometimes.  Added to that was the shame of being a country girl in a rock and roll town.  With country rock, I could relax and just let the music flow.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 - The Year In Music

For someone like me who likes to bitch about the state of music, I have to admit, 2007 was pretty darn good. You just needed to know how to find the good stuff.

I've read a bunch of critics' lists of the best CD's of 2007, and unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to hear them all. The critics could well be right. After all, they did list most of my favorite CD's of the year.

Critics whose opinions I value include Chet Flippo (of course) and Jon Bream, who writes for the Star Tribune. I also like to read Entertainment Weekly's opinions, although their demographic is, admittedly, younger. I also perused the list that No Depression Magazine compiled.

So, here's where we agree:

"Raising Sand" - Alison Krauss & Robert Plant

"Revival" - John Fogerty

"Dwight Sings Buck" - Dwight Yoakam

"Magic" - Bruce Springsteen (the prettiest song of the year, "Girls In Their Summer Clothes")

Some mentioned "The Bluegrass Sessions" by Merle Haggard (produced by Marty Stuart).

At least one list included "In A Perfect World" by Gene Watson.

I would also include The Eagles, "Long Road Out Of Eden" and "Goin' Home - A Tribute To Fats Domino".

I'm sure there must be new artists who are great. I hear there's some British gals who are pretty good.

What I know is, the artists who produced the best music in 2007 (in my opinion) have been around since the 1980's or longer:

Alison Krauss, Robert Plant, John Fogerty, Dwight Yoakam, Bruce Springsteen, Merle Haggard, Gene Watson, The Eagles, Fats Domino.

I don't know what this means. A cynic would say, there are no good new artists on the horizon. I don't believe that. I guess we just don't get a chance to hear the new, good ones.

But thank God for the old ones!

And here's an old one:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Music Recommendation - I Report, You Decide (ha)

I picked up a new CD today. Well, I was returning two CD's that I got for Christmas, two CD's that I already had.

Luckily, I read magazines in my spare time, or I would be ignorant to new, interesting CD's.

So, my mission was to find "Goin' Home - A Tribute To Fats Domino".

Luckily, my local Borders had it in stock. Buying music is a pain, which is why I rarely buy any. Face it, most new music is a waste of money and time.

To digress for a minute, do you have a hard time finding good music in your local stores? I do. The closest store to me is Target, which carries the newest offerings by Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, et al, but would I find "The Bluegrass Sessions" by Merle Haggard there? No. I never buy CD's at Target, because they don't have anything I would want.

We do have a local, independent record store close by, but their selections are minimal in my categories. My categories being, I guess what you would call Alt Country. What used to be just "country" back in the day. Artists like Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, Gene Watson. My other category is older rock artists who sound more country than the so-called country artists of today. Those would include The Eagles, Neil Young, John Fogerty, Tom Petty.

So, I do most of my music shopping online.

You can find anything you want online (I usually shop at Amazon). BUT what if you want music NOW? What if you don't want to wait five business days to get your music?

Oh, you can download music (again, I use Amazon. And if the song I want is unavailable on Amazon, I go to ITunes or WalMart).

That's all fine and dandy if you want just a song or two. Even if you want a whole album, unless it's an artist you cherish. If it's Dwight or George or Marty, for example, I want the actual physical CD. It's just a personal pecadillo of mine.

So, back to my shopping (returning) expedition today. I headed off to Borders, hoping that I could find "Goin' Home". I returned my two CD's (the lady was rather rude, by the way). Then I went off to flip through the CD racks. Surprisingly, I found it rather quickly. And it was worth it. This is a double CD, with artists such as Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams, Elton John, Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones, and many, many more. Also lots of New Orleans blues.

I am very much enjoying it.

So, here's a promotional video for the CD that I found on YouTube:


Friday, December 14, 2007

Categorizing Music

Just to prove my point (if you go back and read my old posts), Newsweek agrees with me:

Newsweek Got It Right For Once

It makes me happy to know that I'm right, and that someone with a lick of sense sees it my way.

Yea, Merle Haggard's "Bluegrass Sessions" isn't technically "bluegrass". Big deal.

It deserved a Grammy nomination.

Lord knows, we have to take any good music that comes our way nowadays.

And we have to recognize a superior product when we hear it.

Otherwise, all we're left with is Carrie Underwood.

Does that speak well of the music of 2007?

I've decided that I'm going back to the days of AM radio, when you'd hear a bunch of songs, without categories, and you'd decide FOR YOURSELF what the best songs were.

So, my nominees for Grammys for 2007 are:

Merle Haggard - The Bluegrass Sessions
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant - Raising Sand
John Fogerty - Revival
Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Sings Buck
Trisha Yearwood - Heaven, Heartache

There ya go - as Steve Carell would say. (He also says, "That's what she said" a lot, but that has no bearing here.)

So, Merle - 1967, 2007 - that's 40 years and still going strong.

Now WHO'S the legend? I rest my case.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

More New Music Recommendations

John Fogerty's latest, Revival, is a VERY GOOD album. Ah, the kind of music I've been missing. Some really good rock & roll, and country (yes, some of it sounds country to me - I mean, country as it used to be known.)

This is a political album, lyrically. I was not aware of this before I bought it. Nevertheless, musically, it's very, very good. I can forgive political lectures, as long as the music is good, and as long as I don't have to be bombarded in the media constantly by the artist's political yammerings (see Dixie Chicks).

Since I downloaded the album, I don't have the liner notes, but there's a lot of great organ on many tracks, and some great drumming.

My favorite tracks:

Gunslinger - Sort of an Eagles vibe on this one; this is what I mean by country.

I Can't Take It No More - It's like a Little Richard song! And it comes in at 1:41. Hey, say what you need to say and be done with it - that's my philosophy.

It Ain't Right - This is more of a Creedence song than the track titled, "Creedence Song" on the album.

Natural Thing - Another "Creedence-type" song. Great organ on this one.

River Is Waiting - Very pretty & mellow. More great organ.

Don't You Wish It Was True - This is a catchy little number. This one and Gunslinger are my two favorites.

Broken Down Cowboy - Another "Eagles-type" country song. Another very pretty song.

If you are a John Fogerty or a Creedence fan, you won't be disappointed by this offering. Seven really good tracks; that's unusual these days. And the other tracks aren't too shabby, either.

Revival (purchase or download at Amazon (DRM-free downloads!)

On a completely different note, Gene Watson finally has a new album.

Casual country fans don't know this, but Gene Watson is kind of the ultimate country singer. If you've never heard "Farewell Party", check it out. And wait for that last note - it's a killer.

But on to the new album. It's good! He does some classic songs, some new songs. Some duets, some solos.

The ones I like the best are:

Don't You Ever Get Tired Of Hurting Me - A classic country song you never get tired of hearing; sung by, well, you know - the ultimate country singer.

Let Me Be The First To Go - A duet with Vince Gill. Very pretty song.

She's Already Gone - This one is my favorite. This is a new song, and Gene sings the heck out of it.

Together Again - A duet with Rhonda Vincent. I wonder how many times this song has been recorded. Well, this is a nice version.

A Good Place To Turn Around - Another duet, this time with Connie Smith. Well, isn't it nice to hear from Connie again! I like this one a lot.

So, there you have it. I haven't found any good music for about a year, and suddenly I've found four good (if not great) albums in the course of a couple of weeks! Hey, things are looking up!

In A Perfect World
(purchase or download at Amazon)