Showing posts with label johnny gimble. Show all posts
Showing posts with label johnny gimble. Show all posts

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The CMA Awards - Just For Kicks, 1986!

Here 'tis, the day after Thanksgiving, and a long weekend to boot! What better time to check out the happenings of 1986?

In the news, there was a bunch of bad stuff. Did you ever notice that the yearly news recaps never include any good news? For example, the Challenger space shuttle exploded. Then the Chernobyl thing. See? All bad.

No wonder it's more uplifting to check out the pop culture of the day.

For example, in the Nielsen ratings, this show ranked right up there:


In the world of movies, there was a bunch of serious-minded stuff that nobody remembers. The movie that people really remember from 1986 is this:

In pop music, there was a lot of good stuff (the eighties being my favorite time for rock/pop), but I don't think anything beats this one:

With that bit of 1986 background, let's move onwards and upwards to the CMA Awards.

The strangest award of 1986 was for the INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR. I couldn't actually believe it, so I checked a few other sources, and yes, it's true. The Oak Ridge Boys were the instrumental group of the year! What?? This sort of boggles the mind, because the Oak Ridge Boys are nothing if not a vocal group. I'm thinking, this is the deal. The CMA voters wanted to give the ORB something, and they also wanted to give another group something. So, what to do? Hey! How about this? We'll give the ORB the instrumental award! They won't care. It's an award, after all.

So, yes, the Oak Ridge Boys were the instrumental group of the year. Listen along with me, if you will, and let's see if there's any actual instrumental parts to this song:

Why, yes. There were a couple of brief instrumental interludes. But that was the backup band. I don't care, really. I just enjoyed watching this performance again. After seeing this, though, I think the ORB won for their splendiferous outfits!

The big news, of course, from the 1986 CMA's was that Chet Atkins did not win the INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR award! I know! I'm flabbergasted, too! The award went, this time, to the hardest working fiddler in country music, Johnny Gimble.

Here's a rare video (although a bit out of sync), featuring Connie Smith (a personal favorite!), along with another one of my personal favorites, Merle Haggard, on fiddle, side by side with Mr. Gimble himself.

The VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR was another one of those one-time pairings. But at least, unlike Anne Murray and Dave Loggins from 1985, this song was actually country, so two thumbs up for Marie Osmond and Dan Seals.

Ahhh, remember when country music was melodic and pretty? Watching this performance was a treat.

Dan Seals was on a roll in 1986, as evidenced by his win for SINGLE OF THE YEAR. (Was this really 1986? Where the heck does the time go??) I loved hearing this song again, and the video is pretty cool, too. But I'm a sucker for good dancing. And I won't even quibble about Dan having to play his guitar upside down. Geez, I'm left-handed, too, but some things just need to be done the right way. Anyway, here's "Bop":

Ronnie Milsap was back, and just as good as ever in 1986, with the ALBUM OF THE YEAR, "Lost In The Fifties Tonight". Static-y though it is, this video is still worth watching. One of the best voices ever to come out of country music.

Since this was the VIDEO OF THE YEAR, I searched 'til I found the actual video. It's only right. Here is, "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes", by George Jones.

Watch WHO'S GONNA FILL THEIR SHOES in Music Videos | View More Free Videos Online at

I don't disagree with the sentiment, but isn't this song basically just naming off a bunch of names? Well, it didn't win for song of the year; just video, so I guess it really doesn't matter.

This, however, was the SONG OF THE YEAR; written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz. And it's a good one. Country; if anyone remembers that genre. "On The Other Hand", recorded by Randy Travis.

Man, I miss country music!

HORIZON AWARD - Randy Travis!

Lucky for me, I get to include one of my top twenty country songs of all time here, "1982":

Wow, Randy looks like a kid here! If you recall, the mid-1980's saw a renaissance in real country music; thanks to artists like Randy, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, and, of course, George Strait. Remember when you could sing along with the radio to songs like this? I don't even listen to country radio anymore, much less sing along to it. What the hell happened? Randy's great, and I'm glad he's got that second career going now. Geez, how did he become obsolete? I think we're a bit too quick to toss people aside, especially when we've got nothing to replace them with.

The FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR was, again, Reba McEntire. This is a video that really kind of ticks me off. I mean, here she is, the long-suffering wife, being all forgiving and understanding, while jerk-face husband is off throwing snowballs with his latest conquest up in someplace called "New England". I think Reba should have kicked his sorry ass to the curb. Really. Who would want to take him back? A$$hole. Get the alimony, Reba. See how long his snowball-throwing friend will stick around when he has $10.00 to his name. Give me a break.


Yes, it was because of the Judds that the Oak Ridge Boys got relegated to instrumental group of the year. But, you know, the Judds really did deserve the vocal duo award.

Here's a video of a song from 1986:

Hey, I love the Judds. But watching Naomi really gets on my nerves. Flouncing around in her founcy dress. Trying to act like she's 20. I guess we'll just call it "background singer-itis".


Well, what can I say? It's George Strait.

George Strait - The Chair
Video Codes at

You know, I'll just say, that if you were of a mind to go out honky tonkin' in the eighties, this was the song that could get a gal out on the dance floor. I know. It's the most romantic song that George ever sang.


Yup, Reba captured the big award in 1986. Here she is, still curly-permed. Back before she decided that she needed to get some cosmetic enhancements done. Chronologically, of course, this video is not corrrect, but give me a break. I find what I can find.

Hall Of Fame

The Duke Of Paducah

The Duke Of Paducah, aka Whitey Ford (wasn't that a baseball player?) was a country comedian, who was popular from the 1930's through the 1950's. He was a popular staple of the Grand Ol' Opry, as evidenced by this clip (with prelude by Faron Young):

Wesley Rose

Wesley Rose was a country music publisher, and the son of legend Fred Rose, who nurtured Hank Williams' career. Wesley was of a different era from his father, of course, and therefore promoted songs by writers/acts such as the Everly Brothers, Marty Robbins, Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, Don Gibson, John D. Loudermilk, and Mickey Newbury.

Here's a representation of a song written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant:

All in all, 1986 was a pretty good year for country music. I really can't complain. Most likely, one of the best years ever. We had Randy, George Strait, the Judds, Ronnie Milsap, and a whole bunch of others.

We'll probably never see the likes of this again. But hope springs eternal. So, on to 1987.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1975

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


John Denver

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

I now remember why I used to hate John Denver.

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

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

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


Waylon Jennings

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Get the hell outta here, boy!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Roy Clark & Buck Trent

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

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

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


"Back Home Again" - John Denver

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

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


Minnie Pearl

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

And her induction was well deserved.

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

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