Showing posts with label the statler brothers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the statler brothers. Show all posts

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Harold Reid

I'd intended to write a different post tonight, but I just heard on Willie's Roadhouse that Harold Reid has passed away. The news brought a tear to my eye.

The Statler Brothers have been with me as long as I've been listening to country music, and that's a damn long time. In fact, even before I began listening to country, when I was just a little kid, one couldn't miss this song on the radio:

In the sixties, in addition to performing as part of the Johnny Cash retinue and being featured weekly on Cash's ABC variety show, The Statlers had hits of their own, mostly novelty songs. It wasn't until the group emerged from Johnny's shadow that they came into their own, and boy, did they. The seventies was the Statlers' decade.

I was thirteen in 1970 when I heard this song on the radio and my best friend Alice and I agreed that it was fine:

Don, Harold, Phil, and Lew was the order in which they were billed. Harold was the bass singer with a mile-long personality. Don, the lead singer, and Harold were the only actual brothers of the group. Phil Balsley sang baritone and Lew DeWitt had the high tenor voice. Naturally they began their career in gospel, but gospel couldn't hold them.

For Christmas in 1972, Alice and I exchanged gifts as we did every year, always record albums. Our rule was two LP's. I loved those surprises, because I got to hear music I'd never heard before. My paltry motel maid earnings allowed me to purchase only a few albums a year, and I gravitated toward "greatest hits" because that gave me the most bang for my four bucks. I unwrapped one titled, "Country Music Then And Now". It was an odd album -- side one consisted of old standards sung to perfection, but side two was something wild. A band called Lester "Roadhog" Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys had commandeered the flip side of the Statler Brothers' album.

The video doesn't do the Cowboys justice. Let's' just say the record was one of a kind. 

But Roadhog was a short-lived sideline. The very best Statler Brothers album is one called Country Symphonies In E Major. The group's singing was superb.

In 1980, this track was released, featuring Jimmy Fortune, who'd replaced Lew after his retirement for health reasons:

I don't know why I love this version of an old song, but I do. Every time Sirius queues it up, I flip up the volume, and it features Harold at his best:

The Statlers biggest hit came courtesy of Jimmy Fortune.

I never saw the Statlers in concert. I saw practically every country artist of the sixties, and I would have gone, given the opportunity, but it never came. A shame. They were part of my life forever, and I loved Harold most of all.

I didn't know that the group officially retired in 2002. Time runs together. Harold was eighty and lived a good long life. God's smiling on him, no doubt. Everyone deserves a giggle.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1974

It was after these awards, I think; or maybe it was following 1975's, that a group of disgruntled country music entertainers got together and formed their own association. I think they called it the "Pissed Off Brigade" or something (no, I'm sure that wasn't what they called it). But it is true, that an alternate association was formed, to counter the "pop-ishness" leanings of the Country Music Association.

Now, maybe it was 1975, because looking at this year's winners' list, I'm not finding too much of what you'd call non-country.

Unless they were po'd because Charlie McCoy and Danny Davis kept winning. "We hate harmonicas!", they whined. "It's like a cat screeching!" "Oh, and enough with the trumpets! Oy! I can hardly hear myself think with that thing blowing!"

"And also, what's with Charlie Rich and his hat? Is he trying to be Frank Sinatra or somebody? We don't need that riff-raff hangin' around the Ryman!"

So, I guess I gave away the Instrumentalist of the Year and Instrumental Group of the Year winners. Oops. And I don't think they really hated Charlie Rich - at least I hope not.

No, what they were upset about, and it's sort of silly in hindsight, was the Female Vocalist of the Year winner.

Yes, I suppose her hit song wasn't technically country - at least not typical 1974 country. Now it would never get played on country radio, because it would be too country.

But it was harmless enough. I don't know what all the fuss was about. I like the song myself.

And, you know, she wasn't exactly depriving another deserving soul of the prize. The other nominees were Loretta Lynn (and I think she got more than her share of awards, don't you?), Anne Murray (oh, a paragon of country music), Dolly Parton (who also carted home a bundle of awards over the years, and who, by the way, made her own foray into pop music later, if you recall), and Tanya Tucker. Well, Tanya was what? Fourteen then? She had plenty of time.

And just for the fact that she didn't wear long Little House on the Prairie dresses, I think Olivia deserved the award!


Olivia Newton-John

I don't know who could harbor resentment against Olivia Newton-John. I mean, just look at her, with her Bee Gee shiny white teeth. I'm thinking that Australia had a lot of fluoride in their water. And she had nice hair. I wished my hair was like that in 1974. I've got no problems with Olivia winning the female vocalist award. For cuteness alone, she deserved the prize.


Ronnie Milsap

I see no reason why the Pissed Off Brigade would have any problem with Ronnie Milsap. Unless they were prejudiced against the blind. And that would really garner no sympathy for their movement.

There's a couple of really good singers from the country genre who get little recognition, but nevertheless, they're (as I said) really good singers. One of them is Ray Stevens, whom I've written about before. The other is Ronnie Milsap.

Listen to this rendition of a Don Gibson song, "Legend In My Time", and see if you don't agree that Ronnie is a really, really good singer.

Wow! Great ending here! I frankly have always been a Ronnie Milsap fan, and I wish he'd gotten his due, like he deserved. Maybe one day.....


A Very Special Love Song - Charlie Rich

Charlie'd been around for a long time before he got any kind of recognition or fame. He didn't just start out with "Behind Closed Doors", you know. He was one of those artists who just kept on keeping on, and hoping that maybe lightening would strike one day.

And I guess it was sort of like lightening, because one year he was on top of the world, and then one day, people were asking, "Whatever happened to Charlie Rich?" Fame or popularity is a weird thing. I think that Charlie was supremely talented, but he only had a couple of years on top, really, and then we never really heard from him again, unless we were paying close attention.

So, 1973 - 1974 were Charlie's years. Here's a major hit from (I'm guessing) the album of the year:


Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn

Okay, here's a video for which I apologize, because it's got a bunch of that Hee Haw "comedy" before we actually get to the song. But in watching this, I realized that I'd totally forgotten about this song, and it's pretty good! In fact, it's way better than a lot of the duets that C & L were famous for. My memory being jogged, I realize now that this was the lead-off track to Conway and Loretta's first album. I'd sort of gotten tired (or "tarred") of posting C & L videos, but I just kinda really like this one!


The Statler Brothers

Yes, the brothers win once again! I'm hoping (selfishly) that they don't keep winning, because I'm running out of video choices.

As I've said before, I like the Statler Brothers. They maybe did some stuff sometimes that wasn't my cup of tea, but they more than redeemed themselves over the many, many years that they were on the country music scene.

So, here's one of their nostalgic songs (again) that most likely kept them running up to the podium year after year.

Wow, one of these guys actually graduated in 1957! And I thought I was old! I guess age is relative.


Country Bumpkin - Cal Smith


Country Bumpkin - recorded by Cal Smith; written by Don Wayne

I've searched and I've searched, but unfortunately, there are no videos to be found of Cal singing this hit song from 1974. I was almost going to skip 1974, since I couldn't find a video of the song/single of the year winner. But then I thought, no. That's not really fair. So, I'll give you a link to the song (no video, however).

But if you want to know how the song went, it was basically: A guy walks into a bar and orders a beer from the barmaid, who proceeds to cut him down relentlessly, calling him a hillbilly and worse. So he marries her! The end.

I don't mean to be flip about this song. It's just that I heard it so dang many times in 1974, I don't care if I ever hear it again. But it was a good song. And the only song that I know of that rhymed "bumpkin" with "pumpkin".


Charlie Rich

Charlie won the big prize! Yay for Charlie! This was Charlie's heyday. Never to come again. So let's just enjoy Charlie performing live here:

So, if you think the Pissed Off Brigade was pissed off in 1974, just wait 'til 1975......

But before we say goodbye to 1974, let's take a look at the Hall of Fame inductees.....

Owen Bradley

Legendary producer Owen Bradley, famous for Bradley's Barn, and famous, of course, for producing Patsy Cline's records, among many others, including Brenda Lee, Conway, and Loretta. Bradley had his own team of hand-picked session players, and he developed a sound that became legendary.

Here's a glimpse of Owen in this fun video featuring KD Lang, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, and Miss Kitty Wells.

Pee Wee King

Here's a really old video of Pee Wee singing the song he wrote, Tennessee Waltz, which later became the state song of Tennessee. That's a pretty good accomplishment! And a very pretty song.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1973

1973 was a banner year. Not necessarily for country music, but for ME! Yes, I was eighteen in 1973, and I graduated from high school.

I may SEEM like a dork, concentrating so much on country music during my teen years, but let me assure you, I didn't spend 1973 locked away in my room. (I did that from approximately 1967 to 1972.)

But, on the bright side, look at all the useless knowledge I accumulated during those years! I always wondered what I would do with these needless facts, and now here I am today, authoring a blog that no one reads! That's redemption!

But enough about me. Let's just get this out of the way, right off the bat:


Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass


Charlie McCoy

(I told you that there would be no more videos of these guys, and I'm sticking to that. Again, it's nothing against Danny Davis or Charlie McCoy; it's just that they just kept winning, and I don't know what I'm supposed to do -- post the same videos over and over?)


Loretta Lynn

Well, there's just no decent videos of any of Loretta's songs that won her this award in 1973, so using my editorial discretion, I decided to go back to 1968 instead.


Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn

No doubt, C & L were on a roll during these years. They'd wrestled the title away from Porter and Dolly, and they were reveling in it. They had a bunch of hit records in a row, and while the following video isn't chronologically correct, I thought I'd just put 'em all out there and we'd watch.


The Statler Brothers

Here we are again, Statlers! I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be repeated for years to come, so let's post some videos while the video postin' is good.

This is an example of the songs I was talking about in my earlier post, about how they did that reminiscent stuff, about when they were kids, that I really couldn't relate to. But who am I to judge? I just got done telling you about locking myself away in my room, so watching Saturday morning serials really doesn't seem so odd, now, does it?

So, here's one of those.


Behind Closed Doors - recorded by Charlie Rich; written by Kenny O'Dell


Behind Closed Doors - Charlie Rich


Behind Closed Doors - Charlie Rich

Well, here we go. After all these years, thirty-five, I guess, here we are with a song that stands the test of time; in fact, one of my top twenty country songs of all time, "Behind Closed Doors".

I guess one could say that 1973 was Charlie Rich's year.

Forgetting about Charlie Rich would mean forgetting about the essence of country music, really. Country music has always been a blend of a bunch of stuff -- gospel, pop, twang, bluegrass, the Nashville Sound -- I'm probably leaving out some stuff. But is there no finer example of what country music truly is? That indefinable "something"? Here's one of the best, not only one of the best songs, but one of country music's best interpreters.

And that piano riff hooked me right off the bat. If anyone deserved these awards in 1973, it was Charlie Rich.


Roy Clark

I guess it was the Hee Haw phenomenon (ha! if you can call Hee Haw a "phenomenon"!) The other nominees for entertainer of the year in 1973 were Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Loretta Lynn, and Charley Pride. Which of these names stand out today? I'm thinking not Roy Clark. But hey! Maybe he put on a good show - I don't know.

Of course, the CMA's are not been to be looked at for historical relevancy. They are a snapshot in time. Sometimes they got it right (from a historical aspect); most times they got it wrong. Hindsight is 20/20.

So, here's a look at Roy Clark (a performance from Hee Haw, of course). And he certainly seems like a jovial fellow, so I guess, congratulations, Roy.


Chet Atkins

Much has been written about Chet Atkins and his career as both a performer and a producer. So, I'm not going to get into all that now. I thought maybe we'd just enjoy Chet picking the Wildwood Flower.


Patsy Cline

Well, there will never be another like her. It's such a shame that her life was cut short so prematurely. I think she'd still be making and selling records today, albeit on an indie label, of course. And she'd be laughing about the histrionics of today's female country singers. She didn't need to do any vocal gymnastics, because she had a pure, natural talent. To me, she will always be the queen of country music.

Monday, October 6, 2008

CMA Awards - 1972

Again, like 1971, there was good and bad to be found at the old Ryman Auditorium in October of 1972.

In some ways, these posts are getting easier, because there are so many repeat winners, and I'm just not gonna fight the futile battle to find videos on YouTube that just aren't there. C'mon country fans! Somebody must have some old obscure videos of some of these folks!

But, on the plus side, we do find some new winners each year, so that makes it interesting (at least to me).

A strange thing happened with the Song of the Year category in 1972. The winner repeated from 1971. Now, I don't know how that's possible exactly. Aren't there cutoff dates for eligibility or something? I don't know what the other nominees were, but they couldn't have been so bad that the voters decided, ah, the hell with it, let's just go with last year's winner. I don't know. But kudos, I guess, to Freddie Hart, because he won again!


Easy Lovin' - written by Freddie Hart; recorded by Freddie Hart

Here's the link again, in case you missed it the first time: Easy Lovin'


Danny Davis & the Nashville Brass

(Just a heads-up -- this goes on for a few more years). You know, I liked these guys, but I'm ready to move on already. Aren't you?


Charlie McCoy

We have a new winner! Yay! Charlie was a very much in-demand session player in Nashville back in the day. I don't know how much harmonica gets put on country records anymore. Lord knows I don't listen to the radio, so how would I know? It could be rampant.

I am not a big harmonica fan. Hey, did you ever get one of those cheap 25-cent harmonicas at the five and dime when you were a kid? They were just worthless. They played about three notes, and it was hard to find a lot of three-note songs. Three Blind Mice is the only one that comes to mind, and that's really a boring song, and it probably has some sinister hidden meaning, going back to the late 1600's or whenever the hell the song was written. And here they were, marketing the song to kids. I hope kids nowadays aren't forced to listen to that macabre song.

Yes, I do digress sometimes. But I was just bored thinking about Charlie McCoy and his harmonica, although I'm not denigrating his talent at all! He was (is) very talented.

So, let's give a listen to the Orange Blossom Special. And I'll just alert you ahead of time, he will continue to win this award for a few years to come, and I'm not going to post any more harmonica videos in the future. Sorry, Bob Dylan.

So, now we come to Single of the Year. Remember I told you how much I HATE the song, "Honey"? Well, here's another hateful song. Again, I'm sure the woman is very nice, and I would love to have tea with her sometime, if she promised not to sing this song in my presence.

It's a funny thing about songs. Obviously, this was a major, major hit, and thus won the award for Single of the Year. So, a lot of people liked it. And I (generally) like three-quarter time songs, so what's my problem with it? Maybe it's because I left nursery rhymes behind when I was about, oh, five years old. I know (in hindsight) that she probably used those types of words to express her "exuberance" about being in love or something, but that still doesn't excuse the "I'll fix your lunch if you fix mine" line. What kind of Candyland world is this woman living in? I can barely muster the energy to fix my own lunch in the morning. Everybody else is on their own, as far as I'm concerned. So, as I said, she is no doubt a wonderful woman, and it's nothing personal. I just REALLY dislike this song.


Happiest Girl in the Whole USA - Donna Fargo

P.S. I had a bridesmaid's dress in 1974 that looked a lot like the dress she's wearing.


Charley Pride

There's not one iota of doubt in my mind that the song I'm posting here won the male vocalist award for Charley in 1972. That doesn't mean I have to like it. Perhaps I'm coming across as an old curmudgeon. I don't mean to. This song is nowhere near as hateful as Donna Fargo's song. It's just that it was done TO DEATH on the radio! And it wasn't that interesting to begin with! I mean, it's just verse - chorus - verse- chorus - chorus. Blah, blah, blah. I think Donna and Charley should get together and compare notes. He's kissin' his angel good morning and she's fixin' lunch for her zippity-do-dah guy. Gag me.

Anyway, here ya go:


Loretta Lynn

It's not often that I get to feature a video that has an introduction by Kermit the Frog, so hey! Unique!

I can never hear or watch a performance of this song without being reminded of the movie, Coal Miner's Daughter. I'm almost surprised to see someone other than Sissy Spacek singing it. I'm kidding, of course. I remember this song. I think I even had the album. In fact, I know I did.

1972 was Loretta's turn, so here's You're Lookin' At Country (backed by the Muppet Show Band):


Let Me Tell You About A Song - Merle Haggard

Now, there are no videos available of any songs from this album, but I will tell you, I had this album, and I now have it on CD, and it's worth buying! Merle actually did "tell us about a song" as an intro to each track. It was an early concept album (for country, at least). It's really quite good. I recommend the old Bob Wills song, "Bring It On Down To My House, Honey". I'd post it (not that I would know how to do that), but that would be copyright infringement, and I'm not of a mind to do that.

But here's a link to the CD (combined with the album, "Hag"; another one that I highly recommend):

Hag/Let Me Tell You About A Song


Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn

Yes, sadly (for them), Porter & Dolly got shut out in 1972 for the vocal duo award. Well, time moves on. Not that it was a new generation or anything. It was basically their peers (or older) who took the mantle.

I'm sure Porter was hoping to win, and he probably spent hours in front of the mirror, getting his blonde bouffant just right for the big awards show. And picking out which upholstered sports coat he was going to wear. And Dolly was probably still in the dressing room when the nominees were announced, combing out one of her many frosted wigs.

Well, you know, these things happen. And Conway and Loretta, while certainly not my favorites as solo artists, did seem to meld quite nicely as a duet. And, if you think about it, they were kind of the anti-Porter-and-Dolly, looks-wise. They were both dark-haired, as opposed to bleached blonde. And they certainly dressed way worse (at least Loretta, with her patchwork quilt dresses). Anyway, I always really liked this one:


The Statler Brothers

I like 'em! They've been around for a long, LONG time. And I just like 'em. I liked 'em when Lew DeWitt was the tenor, and I liked 'em when Jimmy Fortune assumed Lew's role.

I'm not saying that all their songs were stellar. Cuz they really did have a lot of clunkers. That whole "back when I was in high school" bit got old after awhile.

But I even liked the Lester (Roadhog) Moran and his Cadillac Cowboys albums. And, before that, when they were featured players on the Johnny Cash Show. And when they recorded "Flowers On The Wall". The Statlers certainly earned their awards.

This song is from 1970, so a couple of years before they were voted vocal group of the year, but I think this is one of their best, and I'm sure the CMA voters were thinking about this song when they checked off the little box next to the Statlers' name in 1972.

I love Lew's high part at the end.

And now we get to the entertainer of the year category. Well, unlike real life, it really didn't take too long for a woman to win the top award. Let's see, the awards were first given out in 1967; this was 1972. I'm no math genius, but I'll guess that's roughly five years.

I really don't know what kind of entertainer this woman was (is). I did see her around 1964 at Panther Hall, but c'mon! I was, what, nine? I was too fixated on the whole atmosphere of Panther Hall, with the long, white-clothed tables, where people had to sit with a bunch of strangers to eat (interesting concept), and the fact that people were carrying around booze in a brown paper bag, to notice how well or not well the show was going. But I take the CMA voters at their word, and concede that she was (is) a pretty darn good entertainer.


Loretta Lynn


(Governor) Jimmie Davis

I think, if you write a song like, "You Are My Sunshine", you can just sit back and say, "Okay! My work is done!"

Because who, as a child, didn't sing this song? And this guy wrote it!

We don't see videos of Stephen Foster, because obviously, video wasn't yet invented when ol' Stephen was writing his songs, like Camptown Races or Old Folks At Home. But, like those songs, "You Are My Sunshine" is a standard. One that kids all over the world are forced to sing in elementary school.

So simple, yet so annoyingly catchy. It's not rocket science, folks. You're singing it now in your head, aren't you? See? That's the mark of a standard.

So, here you go, Governor Jimmie Davis:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Blast From The Past - Top Country Hits Of 1966

I had so much fun with 1963, I thought I'd stick with the sixties for awhile. I chose 1966, because it doesn't really hold any significance for me, so therefore, it'll be a surprise to see what top songs I can find for that year. And it's fun to be surprised. This isn't a class lecture, after all. It's supposed to be fun.

Here's someone I haven't had the pleasure of featuring yet on my blog, but she has always been one of my favorite singers. And boy, she really had a lot of hits in 1966! I guess that was her year.


Introduced by Bill "Endless Recitation" Anderson, here's Connie performing at the most uncool high school prom ever. "Who's going to be singing at the prom? Frankie Avalon?" "No, Bill Anderson and his Po' Boys." "Yay!"

As I mentioned, the Po' Boys are backing up Connie here. And they do a good job. I did think it was totally inappropriate, however, for the drummer to snicker, "Shake your BOO-tay!" Go back and watch. Read his lips. That's just rude in any decade.


Admittedly, this is a shaky amateur vido, but a shaky amateur video of Merle is still better than a professionally-produced video by any other artist.

I would advise the videographer (?), however, to practice panning a bit. It's kind of static and, well, not boring, really, but okay, boring. Not that Merle himself is boring. But it would have been nice to see the band, too.

Good tip for beginning guitar players....This song has only two chords in it. So, really easy to learn! Trust me. As a novice player myself (for about mumble mumble years), this song is easy to play!


Wow ~ this was fun to watch! Boy, I haven't heard this song in a long time. I can't even find anything to make fun of in this video. Excellent performance; she looked good; she sang perfectly.

Jeannie wrote this song ~ she was a really good songwriter, having written hits for other artists as well.

It struck me, as I was watching, that this is the chord progression I use in 99.9% of my songs. Hey! No wonder I sound dated! Cool ~ now at least I know! If 1966 music ever comes back in style, I'm ready!


Lest we forget Roger Miller, here's a live performance of one of his hits from 1966. I personally don't think anyone should forget Roger Miller, but you know how people's attention spans are nowadays.

I'm not sure what TV show this is from, but the teenage audience certainly was enthusiastic. Later, they all discovered The Who, and they subsequently hid their Roger Miller albums under their beds.

Ah, but in 1966, Roger was cool. I think he always was cool. He was a tremendous songwriter. Although, to sing one of his songs, one needed great breath control, because you will notice, there were very little pauses between words in his songs. He wrote a lot of words!

This is by no means my favorite Roger Miller song, but this was a hit.


Hey, The Statler Brothers just got inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, didn't they? I'm asking, because my memory is really bad. And the sad part is, I think I blogged about that not too long ago.

So, this was their first hit, featuring the late Lew DeWitt. Look how young they look here! The brothers have now retired. So, they're now sitting on that white-painted front porch with the red gingham curtains, just rocking away. Well, all of them except Lew, I guess.

I always thought Phil had the toughest job of all the "brothers". Harold did the lowwww part, Don sang the lead, Lew (and later Jimmy Fortune) had the high harmony, and there was Phil, somewhere in the middle. Kudos, Phil! I know you haven't gotten much recognition over the years, but where would these songs be without your "somewhere in the middle" part?


Ooh! My teeth are starting to hurt, watching this video! Hey, they can't all be winners. Apparently, someone liked this song, because it was one of the top hits of 1966.

In retrospect, Bill would vow never to write another song that had sssso many s's in it. Because it really sounds lame when you sing it: "I love you, dropsssss. I miss you, dropsssss." Sort of sounds lisp-ish.

I make fun of Bill (and his endless talking songs), but he was and is an excellent songwriter. Starting with "City Lights" for Ray Price, up until today, with "Give It Away" for George Strait, hey, I bet the guy is really rolling in dough!

And so what if someone played a practical joke on him, and told him he'd make an excellent singer. You have to laugh at yourself sometimes. And laughing is especially easy when you are rolling in dough.


The first thing one notices about this video is that Johnny is stoned.

With that in mind, it is a wonder that he actually remembered all the words, and only slightly messed up one time.

And what the heck is he playing? A ukelele? Or just a mini-guitar? No matter.

This song is some kind of political protest song of some sort. I don't really get into those, but I guess it was clever. Not by any means one of my favorite JC songs, but my dad always liked this song, for some reason. But he was known to like quirky things.


No quibbles here. Because Bobby Bare is cool.

You know, I can keep saying it and saying it until I'm blue in the face. But it's time to put Bobby in the Hall Of Fame. If you need more videos, there's plenty more where this one came from. I'm getting a little tired of repeating myself, but c'mon, powers-that-be! Do you have dementia? I can stop this tirade at any time. It's up to you. And by "you", I mean whoever the heck it is that votes for the Hall Of Fame. I shouldn't have to remind you. Geez. Don't you have an alphabetical list you refer to, or something? Morons.


You know, every time I see Loretta performing, all I can think of is Sissy Spacek in "Coal Miner's Daughter". I saw that movie (more than) a few times, and I liked it a lot. Just a tip, though. Mooney Lynn looks nothing like Tommy Lee Jones. I mean, if he did, who wouldn't have married him? (I mean, back when Tommy Lee Jones was hot.)

One of the funniest parts of that movie, for me, was when Mooney (or "Doolittle", as Loretta called him) took publicity photos of Lorett-y, and used the bedspread as a backdrop. "Put the backdrop back on the bed", Tommy Lee (Mooney) said, when the photo shoot was over. I thought that was funny. Sort of like how our band works now ~ improvising as we go. Okay, maybe it was just funny to me.

I remember seeing Loretta (the real Loretta) in concert at Panther Hall in Fort Worth, Texas, when I was just a young'n. It was pretty cool. This was a place where you had to bring in your own booze, but you could buy "mix" there. Well, of course, I wasn't drinking or anything.......I just mean, this is what I saw.

Yikes. Anyway, I did get Loretty's autograph, and I remember telling my mom that it looked like she signed it, "Buffalo Lynn". She had terrible handwriting. But I guess when you get married at age 13, you probably miss the penmanship class at school.

So, to sum up 1966, did you know that the CMA awards were not presented until 1967? I didn't know that. However, the Grammy awards for that year included:

  • Best Country & Western Vocal Performance, Female -- "Queen of the House," Jody Miller.
  • Best Country and Western Vocal Performance, Male -- "King Of The Road", Roger Miller
  • Best Country & Western Single -- "King of the Road," Roger Miller.
  • Best Country Song -- "King of the Road," Roger Miller
  • Best Country & Western Album -- The Return of Roger Miller, Roger Miller
  • Best New Country & Western Artist -- Statler Brothers
So, it looks like it was a "Miller" year pretty much all around. Notice how they call it, "Country & Western". How quaint.

And also notice how, "Queen Of The House" was simply a ripoff of "King Of The Road"? I mean, nothing against Jody Miller, but I think there had to be other records more deserving. Well, the Grammys were still learning about "country & western" music back then.

And, for my usual disclaimer, there were several hit songs from 1966 that were unavailable on YouTube. I don't know for sure, but I'm thinking, "Almost Persuaded" was probably the top song of that year (by David Houston, by the way), but this one is nowhere to be found, video-wise.

So, I'll leave you with this one:


Friday, February 15, 2008

The Country Music Hall Of Fame 2008

The 2008 inductees into the Country Music Hall Of Fame were announced this week.

A new twist this year is that the inductees will not be announced during the CMA awards telecast. They wouldn't want to waste valuable time that could be better used to showcase the latest eighteen-year-old sensation, or to feature another performance by someone like that country music stalwart, Sheryl Crow.

It's actually better for the inductees that they get their own separate ceremony. Frankly, most people who watch the CMA awards would have no clue who these people are, and these viewers would be irritated by having to endure such minutia. Bring on Bon Jovi!, they'd scream. Someone who's really country!

But, for those who might care, the inductees this year are:

Emmylou Harris
Tom T. Hall
The Statler Brothers
Pop Stoneman (posthumously)

Emmylou, as everyone is aware, has been a champion of country music for many, many years.

The first time I remember hearing Emmylou was when she did a duet of an old Louvin Brothers song, with Charlie Louvin himself ("If I Could Only Win Your Love"):

Of course, Emmylou was around long before that. She is indelibly linked to the late Gram Parsons, who in essence launched her career.

Through the years, she has recorded many classic songs, in addition to introducing fans to older songs that they may have forgotten.

Here is one of my favorites, from my favorite Emmylou album, "Elite Hotel". This song was written by Rodney Crowell, who is prominently featured in this video. The performance takes awhile to get going ~ there's a lot of, I guess, technical maneuvering prior to the song actually beginning, but it's worth watching, so stick with it. The song is, "Til I Gain Control Again".

Here's one more from Emmylou. This song was written by the late Townes Van Zandt. It was later recorded as a duet by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, but Emmy did it first. This performance is from 1977. The song is "Poncho And Lefty".

Tom T. Hall is probably better known as a songwriter than as a singer, although he had a string of hits on his own.

I found this video of Tom, along with Johnny Cash, performing a medley of his hits. (You will notice that Johnny plays a prominent role in this particular post).

As I said, Tom was probably better known for the songs he wrote for other artists, including, "You Always Come Back To Hurting Me", recorded by Johnny Rodriguez and "(If I Ever Fall In Love With A) Honky Tonk Girl", which was a hit for Faron Young.

Of course, Tom's best known song is this one:

It just struck me that this song actually has no chorus. It's all verses. So, it's the AAA (verse-verse-verse) song structure, as opposed to AABA (verse-verse-chorus-verse). It seems that most of Tom's songs didn't have choruses. That's sort of quirky. Of course, the song structure that's in style now looks something like A/#$!//B%-** (or something). And you'd better follow this rule, or you will never get a cut in Nashville!

The next inductee is (are?) The Statler Brothers.

I find it difficult to remember a time when the Statler Brothers weren't around. It seems like they've been on the country music scene forever.

They got their first career boost by becoming part of Johnny Cash's road show, and later his television program. And oh, by the way, they took their name from a brand of toilet paper.

Here's the Statler Brothers' first hit song (featuring the late Lew DeWitt):

Here is another Statlers hit, this one is from 1970. "Bed Of Roses":

I always loved when Johnny would do one of his gospel songs on his show, and would feature the entire cast. This performance not only includes the Statlers, but the Carter Sisters and Carl Perkins:

It's difficult to find a YouTube clip with Jimmy Fortune (who replaced Lew DeWitt). This is one of the few I could find, and poor Jimmy is reduced to singing June Carter's part. (On the actual recording of this song, it was Jan Howard who sang the female part, not June Carter. Just some useless trivia that I recall. I can barely remember my own name; yet, this I remember).

By the way, I should probably list the members of the Statler Brothers: Don Reid, Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, Lew DeWitt (originally), and Jimmy Fortune.

And now, for something completely different, here are the Brothers' alter egos, Lester (Roadhog) Moran & His Cadillac Cowboys, appearing on Nashville Now with Ralph Emery:

The posthumous inductee is Pop Stoneman. I don't know much about Mr. Stoneman, but I did manage to unearth some interesting facts:

In July and August 1927, Pop Stoneman helped Ralph Peer conduct the legendary Bristol sessions that led to the discovery of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Ralph Peer was a talent scout, recording engineer and record producer in the field of music in the 1920s and 1930s, working for RCA Records. In August of 1927, while talent hunting in the southern states with Victor Records, Ralph Peer recorded both Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family in the same session at a makeshift studio in Bristol, Tennessee.

But back to Pop Stoneman, he and his wife had 14 children, and the family went on to form the Stonemans, a group that became popular in the bluegrass arena.

So, Pop Stoneman is being honored as an early pioneer of country music.

Next, I will be lobbying to get Bobby Bare inducted into the Hall Of Fame. I actually had to go to the Hall Of Fame website to make sure he wasn't already there. Couldn't believe it. Geez.