Showing posts with label ricky skaggs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ricky skaggs. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Mel Tillis

The guys who write obituaries for newspapers are probably around thirty or so. Maybe forty at the most. Everyone knows that companies are in the midst of showing baby boomers the door. That leaves a gap when it comes to writing about someone's life, because these young guys (and/or girls) don't have a clue who Mel Tillis was. It makes me mad when I realize that an obituary consists of bits gleaned from Wikipedia. A life should mean more than that. Especially Mel Tillis's.

Country music would have been so much less if Mel Tillis hadn't come along.

When I first became involved with country music, I didn't know Mel Tillis. I might have seen "M. Tillis" in parentheses beneath the song title on a '45 single, but at that time, I only cared about who sang the song. Granted, I was only around thirteen, so I was as shallow as a...well, thirteen-year-old.

I didn't even know that the title song of my all-time favorite album (because it was Dad's all-time favorite album) was written by this Mel Tillis guy. Dad bought the LP in 1965, when I was still engrossed in the orange and yellow Capital '45's released by this group called "The Beatles".

Sorry, apparently they didn't make videos in 1965, but this is still awesome:

Seeing as how I was a remedial country music student, once my best friend Alice began schooling me in the ways of (good) country music, I caught up with this next song. Alice also was the person who taught me how to play (chord) guitar (I never actually learned how to "play"), and she taught me the intro to this song. 

Detroit City was released in 1963, and while I didn't listen to country music then, one could not help but be exposed to it, because the radio stations played an eclectic mix of musical styles. My cousin and I created a comic book about "singers when they get old". Bobby Bare was one of our subjects, but in our version he was an actual bear. Our comic was a huge hit among my Uncle Howard's bar crowd. Orders rolled in, but unfortunately we would have had to recreate the whole thing by hand over and over, so we sacrificed the big bucks (twenty-five cents) we could have made from the venture, essentially because we were lazy. 

Around 1967 Alice and I were excited to see Bobby Bare in person, but thanks to a freak winter fiasco, we never got to. We ended up going back to her house and watching the local TV broadcast of Bobby's performance. 

A lot of my musical history is tied up in Detroit City, and it was all thanks to Mel Tillis:

The very first song I ever wrote went like this:

1967, you taught me how to play
All those Merle Haggard songs
Man, he had a way
And the intro to Detroit City
I remember it today
You were my hero then
You still are today

So, again, it all started with Mel.

Much like I traveled back in time to capture songs like "City Lights", I didn't quite catch that Mel had written this hit song from 1957. Was Mel around forever? 

I never understood why this guy named Webb Pierce was considered the Hank Williams of the fifties. Pierce didn't even write his own songs! And he was rather an awful singer, but apparently the "nasal" sound worked for him. In the fifties, who was the competition? Pat Boone? The only thing I know about Webb Pierce is that he had a guitar-shaped swimming pool and he was a renowned asshole. Regardless, Mel Tillis wrote this song and Webb should have thanked him for it, but apparently that wasn't Pierce's modus operandi:

More my style was this single released in 1967:

And seriously, all this time, I had no idea that a guy named "Mel" had written these songs.

So, when did I become aware of this Mel Tillis guy? In the mid-sixties, I began hearing songs on the radio by someone who had a different sort of voice. He was no Ray Price. He sang like the words were stuck in his gullet. I was judgmental. The songs were good, but I was perplexed by the singer.

Eventually, as more of this guy's recordings got played by the DJ's, I became used to him.

In 1970, I got hooked. This is one of my favorite recordings ever.

 In the mid-seventies, Mel's career took off. He was still writing songs and still writing hit songs, like:

By then, I'd bought his live album, and it was hilarious. I never knew that Mel Tillis stuttered! Of course, if you read the various obituaries, that's practically all that is written about him.

Yea, Mel Tillis was funny. And Clint Eastwood and all the Hollywood set loved him. 

This might have been from a Clint movie, or maybe not, but I think it was:

This one, I'm pretty much convinced is from a Clint movie:

Here's one more (Mel did it better):

I'm going to guess that the most famous song Mel Tillis ever wrote was this next one. It would have been nice if Kenny Rogers had tweeted a few words and had thanked Mel for his career, but whatever. I'm not going to judge the propriety or impropriety of not acknowledging.

Mel Tillis was with me all my life and I didn't even know it. I didn't know that Mel was wrapped up in my musical belonging. 

Pay it forward, they say.

Mel paid a lot of artists' ways.

Mel Tillis is wrapped up in my musical memories. Ir's not everyone who can encompass a person's life. I wanna cry just thinking about him. And I truly miss him.

Thank you, Mel Tillis, for things I didn't even know you taught me.

Friday, August 5, 2016

My Random Number Generator Gave Me....

1985 in country music!

I'm not thrilled with my generator's random number, because 1985 was not a banner year for country. Country music was in that awkward stage -- between utter crap and greatness. There were some glimmers of hope, though. If one wants music that's really bad, they could pick basically any year between the late seventies and...well, 1985.

As the picture above denotes, however, ooh yes, there were glimmers.

I could waste yours and my time doing a corny countdown, but let's just start with the number one single of the year, shall we?

The deep, complicated reason why I love this song:  IT'S COUNTRY.

"Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" is essentially the perfect country song. But, oh, it's not just the song -- it's the sublime performance, from the tiny yodel in George's delivery to the heart-thumping twin fiddles to the four-four shuffle beat to the just-right steel guitar riff.

Readers of this blog know how I feel about George Strait. George, along with Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam, saved country music. It was almost dead and mercifully begging to be buried, and then George came along, like a vision.

I've told the story before of how I'd given up on country music; switched the dial on my radio in disgust; became enamored with MTV and real true (not facsimile) music. Then I happened to take the kids over to Mom and Dad's one evening and Mom popped in a VHS tape (yep!) of some hillbilly singer performing live somewhere in Texas. I thought, "What's this crap?" I didn't know any of the songs (they weren't being played on MTV). The singer was a "pretty boy" in a big cowboy hat -- no doubt another imposter trying to grab Merle Haggard's mantle. I went home that night more puzzled than impressed. But though I was loathe to admit it, this guy had something. And gradually, I began alternating between the rock station and the country station that I had to reprogram into my car radio.

So, yes and thank you, George Strait. Even hard-headed goofballs like me can learn something.

I wish I could say 1985 turned out to be a great year for my rediscovery of country music, but alas, it wasn't.

There was this girl singer that I'd first noticed a few years before. She wasn't hitting it big, but I liked her. I actually talked my mom into going to an indoor rodeo with me because I'd heard this gal would be performing...I guess in between the bulldogging and the steer wrestling competitions. (In a small town, we took our entertainment where we could find it.) Mom was about as impressed with Reba McEntire as I was the first time I saw George Strait. I, though, liked her because she was authentically country. That would sadly change later. Some musical lifespans are short.

Here is how she once was:

I am perplexed that the next song was released in 1985. It seems to me to be a latter Judds hit, because once again, the Judds I first discovered were singing "Mama He's Crazy", but maybe I just have time muddled in my brain. I apologize for not being able to find a better video -- I would love to know what happened to all the eighties music videos that were played on CMT, because they sure are nigh impossible to find. So, here's the best I could find:

Ricky Skaggs was a bluegrass artist who wanted to become a country star. And he did. But he's still a bluegrass artist. Be proud of who you are! I like bluegrass. 1985 could stand an infusion of bluegrass. Here's some:

Here's something good. Good. I love Rosanne Cash's voice; not crazy about her politics, but that's neither here nor there in the music realm. Rosanne Cash is how would-be singers would like to sound. That's damn high praise.

I really dislike Marie Osmond. I suppose it's not her fault, per se, but she signed on to do those weight loss commercials, where she poses in her deceptively slimming dress and looks down her nose at us, because she lost fifty pounds, because some big company gave her their program for free. Nevertheless, this is a good song -- mostly because of Dan Seals:

Not to be redundant, but c'mon. This, again, is a perfect country song. If you've ever spent a night out at a honky tonk and you hear the opening strains of this song, you're gonna go out on the dance floor and two-step -- it's decreed. Yep, this is George again:

I do believe that Alabama is the act I've seen live more times than any other. It's not that I'm a great Alabama fan; it's just that they toured incessantly and they kept showing up in my town. Again, we grabbed our entertainment where we could find it. I like them -- they're okay -- they certainly were a staple of my local country music station for about a decade. So, here they are:

It's a myth that The Highwaymen were a big phenomenon in 1985. But myths are okay. As long as we know the truth. And face it, here are some country music giants.

I love Ronnie Milsap -- is he still performing? I'm thinking 1975 was the first time I heard him, so he had a great run.  There are those artists you just want to tuck inside your pocket and reach for them when you need a musical lift. You don't necessarily think about them very often, but they're there.

Woefully, I didn't see many of these artists live. I saw Ronnie, Alabama (three frickin' thousand times), Reba; and it was an unbelievable quest, traveling all the way to Montana only to find that the artist's bus got mired in a snowstorm in Wyoming and his Montana show was canceled; then a few months later, to a city much closer to home -- Fargo, North Dakota -- to finally, FINALLY! see George Strait in concert. I have no regrets -- I can at least say I saw George Strait live. 

1985 wasn't that bad. One great song can make up for a year's worth of crap. And there was more than one good song that year.

It's kind of unreasonable to expect more than that.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The CMA Awards - Sounds Like Heaven in '87

Remember VCR's? Well, of course you do.....unless you were born in 2005. Well, I bring it up because in 1987, I was still working second shift at the hospital, so in order to not miss the CMA awards broadcast, I'd need to set the old VCR timer and find an unused or unneeded tape to pop in. When one works second shift, it always seems like there's a whole bunch of stuff you're missing out on, but that's really just psychological. In actuality, the only show other than the CMA's that I really needed to see was St. Elsewhere.

Perhaps it was because I worked at a hospital, but maybe it was just a good show. St. Elegius - - St. Alexius. Their hospital was way more interesting than mine.

Of course, in 1987, there was the usual political stuff going on; Iran-Contra and negotiations with the Russians; you know, the usual stuff. But what's really important is POP CULTURE!

So, with that in mind, here's a hit song from 1987:

Yes, the world's greatest gift to hairspray, and to leather fringe jackets, Bon Jovi. And that whole flying out over the audience thing is cool! One of my favorite rock songs from the eighties.

Meanwhile, at the movies, we were enjoying:

The best part of the movie, La Bamba, of course, was Esai Morales, (over)playing the role of "Bob".

While there were a lot of memorable movies from 1987, nothing, to me, beats this one:

Starring of course, Patrick Swayze and a pre-cosmetic surgery Jennifer Grey, and of course, Detective Lennie Briscoe himself, Jerry Orbach.

Fred and Ginger be damned. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Is it just me, or were the late eighties the nadir of pop culture?

But I digress (as usual). Our main topic is the CMA awards of 1987. So let's kick things off.

The VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR award went to a new pairing in 1987; Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. Now, not to be a stickler, but honestly, while they happen to be a married couple, Ricky and Sharon didn't record a whole lot of duets throughout the course of their careers. But Ricky happened to be a hot commodity at the time, so therefore, the CMA decided to spread the wealth a bit. So, therefore, we have our vocal duo of the year:

And you gotta love this video. As if they're just sitting around in their living room (note the lovely beige draperies), doing a jam session, with mics and with everyone facing forward, toward that imaginary audience. Cuz I know when I'm sitting around my living room, I always have everyone sitting side-by-side. Just in case there's a camera on us.

That new-fangled award, MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR, was once again bestowed upon Hank Williams, Jr., for a thoroughly forgettable song, My Name Is Bocephus. Seriously, I don't remember this song. Do you?

I guess music videos (in country) were in their infancy back then, and Hank Junior had the market cornered. Cuz really, there's nothing that stands out about this. But you be the judge:

The VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR was once again The Judds. As annoying as Naomi could be, with her flouncy red dress, and as dated as the "big hair" is, there's no mistaking that the Judds were icons of the late eighties. And here they are, along with their contingent of sparkly bedazzled fans, doing, "Give A Little Love":

Again, in 1987, Reba McEntire was named FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR. This is kind of a cool video, although chronologically incorrect (it was from 1989), but Reba seems to tend to only allow more recent videos to be posted on the net. And no offense, Reba, but you really should stick with the earlier videos, because curly perms aside, at least you looked "natural" then, if you get my drift.

Here's "Sunday Kind Of Love":

The INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR again was fiddlin' Johnny Gimble. You know, Johnny goes back a long way. He played with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, so that's a loooong way back.

Here he is, fiddlin' for Connie Smith, on Pop Goes The Country, starring Ralph Emery, with special guest hosts, Merle Haggard and Bonnie Owens (I just wanted to see how many country music legends I could fit into one sentence).

The HORIZON AWARD in 1987 went to Holly Dunn. Remember Holly Dunn? She was a pretty big deal in the late eighties. I liked her music. Wonder whatever happened to Holly. Well, here's her website: Holly Dunn

Holly is a full-time artist now (and not a "musical artist", but an actual "artist"). Well, good for her! Although, Holly, your website could use some work. Our website looks better than this, and we're nobodies. I'm just saying.

Anyway, enjoy a performance by Holly:

Luckily for me, I can tick off four awards here at one time! Because 1987 was really the year of Randy Travis. How so?

SONG OF THE YEAR - Forever And Ever, Amen - written by Paul Overstreet & Don Schlitz

SINGLE OF THE YEAR - Forever And Ever, Amen

ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Always And Forever


Here you go!

<a href="">Randy Travis - Forever And Ever (Video)</a>

Isn't this a sweet video? Thanks, Randy Travis.

Well, that only leaves us the main award of the evening, ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.

Guess who? No, not Randy Travis. It's our old friend, Hank Williams, Junior.

And here he is, with a jumpin' song; one that'll make you get up and dance. Enjoy!

So, you see, Hank wasn't just a one-shot wonder. Oh no. He wasn't just a video star. In 1987, Hank was the entertainer of the year! So, there you go. And thanks, Hank, for keepin' the conservative spirit alive.


Rod Brasfield

Rod Brasfield was a country comedian. It was sort of an expectation, way back when, that country music shows would include comedians. And Rod Brasfield followed in that tradition.

Here he is, with Cousin Minnie Pearl, performing a comedy routine.

I'm thinking, back then, that comedians were a big part of the whole country music entertainment extravaganza. Well, it was a different time. Me, I like country music for the music, but that doesn't negate the importance of these early pioneers, so hats off to Rod Brasfield, for helping to bring country music to the masses.

And there you go. From the ridiculous to the sublime, or vice versa. 1987. A good year for pop culture. Even country music was slowly making its way into the twentieth century.

And again, thank you, Randy Travis.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Top Discoveries of 2008 - Video Edition

Don't you just love lists? It's a commonly-shared trait among homo sapiens, for some reason. We're drawn to lists. Do you ever not read a list, when you notice it in a magazine or newspaper, no matter how inane it might be?

I don't think a list would even need a category for people to read it. It could be something like:

1. French Toast
2. Magazine Subscription Inserts
3. Running Water
4. Candle Wicks
5. Snow Tires

And people would read it and argue aloud with the choices. "Well, number five for sure, but definitely not number 3!"

So, not to be left out of the list-making extravaganza, here's my list of my top five video discoveries of 2008:

1. Pop Video - Sixties Edition - Groups - TIE!


This isn't the original video that I posted earlier this year. That one, alas, has been removed. I love watching the Lovin' Spoonful perform, chiefly because of the raw enthusiasm of the late Zal Yanovsky. Watch his interaction here with John Sebastian. Infectious!


I don't know what it is about this song, but I love it. And they hardly ever play it on oldies stations, for some reason. The Honeycombs were a British Invasion band who, as far as I know, had just this one hit. And a girl drummer! The most amazing part, of course, is that they were able to play their electric guitars without plugging them in! Ingenious!

2. Pop Video - Sixties Edition - Solo


Here is the late Del Shannon, shooting the breeze with the thinner version of Burton Cummings, talking about the creation of his most famous song. And then! The video morphs into one great performance! Amazing what one can do with an A minor and a G and one killer organ solo!


I found this video by accident when I was searching for Ricky Skaggs. And I started watching it, and I said, "Hey!" This is cool! So then I watched it again!

4. Country Duet


I'd forgotten how much I like Dan Seals. And this duet with Marie Osmond is just pretty. I love watching and listening to this song.

5. Pop Culture - American Idol Edition


Let's face it. Pretty much everyone gets sucked in by American Idol every season, so why deny it? Jason Castro was my sentimental favorite of the past season, and I still maintain, if he plays his cards right, he can have a nice career in music. I liked this performance a lot, and no, I'm not biased toward John Sebastian.

So, there you go. Argue among yourselves. But this category is so broad, it's basically argument-proof.

And no, there is no new music here, but 2008 was kind of a bummer for new music. When in doubt, therefore, go with something old and something good.

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.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The CMA Awards - Goin' For More In '84!

Wow, is it 1984 already? Those first few years of the eighties went by fast!

Looking back to the year 1984, one finds that nothing earth-shattering happened in the world of news. But we don't really care about the news anyway, do we? We care about the important stuff, like TV and music. That's the stuff we remember.

So, in pop music, this song was popular and won Grammy awards. Tina was, here, about 72 years old, I believe. So today, that would make her 96 years old, and she's still going out on tour! That's stamina!

A truly classic acceptance speech from the Oscar Awards in 1984 was delivered by somebody we all really, really like.......Sally Field. I mean it; we like her; we really, really like her.

The big three television networks were still serving up their hot piping cauldron of crap; namely prime-time soaps, such as Dynasty and Dallas and any other show that started with the letter "D". There was this show, however, that cracked the top 20:

My brother, and my other brother, were big fans of this show.

But on to the topic at hand - the 1984 CMA Awards.

I bet you can't guess who the INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR was. No, really. Guess.

If you guessed anyone other than CHET ATKINS, then you haven't been paying attention. Because he, I estimate, won this award approximately 267 times.

For the second straight year, RICKY SKAGGS and his BAND* won the INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR award.

*band to be named later (actually, Kentucky Thunder)

Here's a gospel tune from the band*:

And, as long as we're talking about two-fers, the MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR statuette was once again presented to LEE GREENWOOD.

Not surprisingly, if you type "Lee Greenwood" in the YouTube search field, all you get is one song! Over and over. Yes, that one. I can attest, however, that Lee did record other songs. I have a CD of Lee's, and it doesn't just have one track. Just to set the record straight.

So, I switched over to, and I did find two Lee Greenwood videos. And yes, one of them is that song. But here's another one (featuring, apparently, Patrick Duffy from that number one prime-time soap, Dallas):

And, after a brief sabbatical, THE STATLER BROTHERS were once again back on top, reclaiming the award for VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR.

Yes, Alabama had kind of swooped in for three years and absconded with the award, but now the Brothers were back! Man, can you imagine if someone had pilfered Chet Atkins's award??

Here are Harold, Phil, Don, and now Jimmy Fortune, doing their version of an old ditty:

A new face appeared in 1984 to claim the FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR award. And much like Barbara Mandrell, we would see this artist standing at the podium many, many times in years to come.

I searched hard to find a video of when this lady was still "country" (and before she had some "work done", I'm guessing). After scrolling through many pages, I found one! This song was recorded a few years after the 1984 awards, but my criteria was to find a country song, so here's 1984's female vocalist of the year, REBA MCENTIRE:

The SONG OF THE YEAR was written by Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar. And yes, I know these are country awards, but the one and only video of Gary Morris performing this song has been removed from YouTube. So, here's the version that everyone remembers anyway (sorry, Gary, but it's true). From that weepie movie (and I mean that in a good way), Beaches, here's THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS, courtesy of Bette Midler:

Both the ALBUM OF THE YEAR and SINGLE OF THE YEAR belonged to Anne Murray this year. For something that was so popular, you'd think there'd be a video available. But no.

But, you know, I can't just NOT include this. It won two awards, for pete's sake. So, here's a picture to look at, while you listen to the album and single of the year, "A Little Good News":

I've been sort of saving the VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR category, because it's just so odd and quirky. You know, ol' Willie likes to record duets with, well, everyone. So, here he was, just doing his usual thing, recording duets. He had the guy from Spain drop by the studio one day. They slapped together a little number, and lo and behold, they ended up winning the vocal duo award! Yes, that's right. WILLIE NELSON and JULIO IGLESIAS. And here they are! (And sorry, the audio does tend to cut out on this, but it's the only video available).

Of course, whenever I think of this song, I'm reminded of this, and it's a hoot:

On the HORIZON, here comes a duo that sure could sing country like it was meant to be sung. Sometimes we don't appreciate artists enough when they are on the scene. It takes hindsight to realize just how great they were. I'll admit, Naomi annoyed me a lot. But when she was singing harmony with Wynonna, (as opposed to talking and acting out) well, it was sublime. Here are the 1984 HORIZON AWARD winners, The Judds:

That brings us, of course, to the big award of the night, ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR. Yes, these guys kept on winning a whole bunch of awards through the years (although not vocal group in 1984, snickered Harold Reid). And yes, in retrospect, they deserved all the kudos they received. Here's a 1984 song. Just one of many from their multi-decade career. The 1984 ENTERTAINERS OF THE YEAR, ALABAMA:


Anyone who knows anything about the history of country music surely has heard of Ralph Peer. In 1925, Ralph Peer set out on an odyssey to discover new talent to record for "Victor Records". He traveled to Appalachia, where he found a couple of acts that country-philes may have heard of. And once he found them, he recorded them in the field. Here's one of them:

Here's another:

Without Jimmie Rodgers and without the original Carter Family, well, there wouldn't be country music. And no one would've heard them if it hadn't been for Ralph Peer.

Floyd Tillman

Floyd Tillman came from Willie's old stompin' grounds in Texas, and was an early influence on Willie. Floyd specialized in that musical genre that was indiginous to Texas, western swing. He also had a very distinctive style of singing, as represented here, with his biggest hit song, "Slippin' Around":

Here's another song written by Floyd Tillman, performed here by Shelby Lynne; "I Love You So Much (It Hurts Me)":

So, country music expanded its horizons a bit in 1984, welcoming a pop singer from Spain and a country-pop singer from Canada, while still recognizing the contributions from states such as ALABAMA. 1984 saw the rise of future legends The Judds and Reba McEntire. And we can't forget that Chet Atkins was apparently the most famous country star of the UNIVERSE.

I'm looking forward to 1985, if for no other reason than to find out if Chet wins again!