Feb 162010


I’ve been greatly enjoying this performance since discovering it a few days ago. I like it better than the version on Harvest. Hot shit band here, especially that fiddle player, Rufus Thibodeaux. Do you know anything about him, BigSteve? It’s been a while since I’ve read Shakey, so I don’t remember reading if the Old Ways tour was particularly musical memorable. But now I kinda want to hear more.

This next clip features “Field of Opportunity” and a very entertaining interview with Neil.


Once more, let me reiterate: Mr. Moderator, Hrrundi, BigSteve, Jungleland2, mwall, yes, you, Alexmagic, and everyone else: Are You Ready for the Country?


  25 Responses to “Are You Ready for the Country, Rock Town Hall?”

  1. I’m ready for the country. It’s time to go.


  2. Mr. Moderator

    As is so often the case, Oats, it takes a rocker to spark interest in that genre:) Just as I clicked on this post Brinsley Schwarz’s “Country Girl” began playing on my iPod. Another example of the rhythmic commitment of rock ‘n roll musicians livening up a genre that, left to its own devices, is pretty much devoid of cool drum and bass fills.

    I jest sincerely. I’ve mentioned in the past a 90-minute cassette tape that Tom Heyman from onetime Philly-cum-DC country rockers Go to Blazes made me. It was loaded with all those renegade country artists from the ’60s. It was good stuff; it had a rock-informed edge that grabbed my attention. I’ve since acquired some of that stuff, and I like it in small doses. Too often, however, the “stance” of the artists – both lyrically and musically – is too removed from my inner sense of stance. I maybe “too city” to ever fully embrace the genre, but it’s better than I once thought. Today’s modern country music, although mostly generic to my ears, seems to have more in common with old time rock ‘n roll than 99% of what today’s rock ‘n rollers play, so that counts for something.

  3. Oh yeah! My top three picks:

    Jerry Jeff Walker, It’s A Good Night for Singing: starts with a killer cover of Tom Waits’s “Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night.”

    Waylon Jennings, Honky Tonk Heroes: flawless album that features my favorite Waylon song, “Ain’t No God in Mexico.”

    Willie Nelson, Phases and Stages: cool concept album about a breakup–side 1 woman’s p.o.v.; side 2: man’s p.o.v.

  4. I like country music. Real country music. Authentic country. Modern country radio or contemporary country music doesn’t do anything for me. I like the old outlaws (Waylon, Willie, and the boys) and I like the old timers like the Hanks, Merle Haggard, Buck…the standard fare. There’s some new folks who I like well enough but you don’t hear them on the radio.

    I also like some the old country rockers. Gram and Nez come to mind.

    And also, for the record: I adore Jerry Lee Lewis’s country music.


  5. Of course I’m ready for country music. What’s the question?

    I have to admit to being uninterested in most of contemporary country, although someone could probably persuade me that there’s a key musician or two I should pay more attention to. I dig George Strait and Dwight Yoakam and Junior Brown, as examples of some contemporary (though hardly brand new) musicians that I like.

  6. BigSteve

    Yes, I am.

    I don’t know much more about Rufus than google tells me. At first I was thinking he was the party animal who was the subject of the stories about the honey slides recounted in Shakey, but I think that was Rusty Kershaw. Both of them died a few years ago.

    Looking at his bio I’d say Rufus is the only musician ever to have backed Neil Young, Carol Channing, and Slim Harpo. Not at the same time.

  7. I’m ready. Country is cool providing it’s real. I can’t listen to much of it for long, but at times Jr.Brown, Waylon, etc. do just fine.

    Most likely my favorite HEAVILY Country influenced album is Tejas by the Top.

    I am extremely fond of an old Roulette LP by a group called Hog Heaven. These were the Shondells minus Tommy James.

    Now that’s some SWEET Country tinged psych and rock. Wow!

  8. misterioso

    No, but I am ready to say that Waylon shoulda been on that plane.

  9. bostonhistorian

    I’m a country fan up until the point it became MOR crap in ten gallon hats with a little lap steel thrown in.

    “I am ready to say that Waylon shoulda been on that plane”

    Really? Instead of Richie Valens or the the Big Bopper? I’ll take Waylon’s version of Charlie Rich’s “Lonely Weekends” over almost anything those two ever did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ21yUxrTS4

  10. misterioso

    Sorry, bostonhistorian, I felt it unnecessary to say “instead of Buddy Holly.” As for Waylon vs. La Bamba Valens or Hello, Baayyyybe, well, toss a coin.

    But I’ll take The Remains’ Lonely Weekend over any of ’em.

  11. BigSteve

    I wouldn’t say it’s better than Charlie Rich’s version, but I like the slowed down tempo. Waylon’s Look in that clip is pretty unbeatable though.

  12. bostonhistorian

    My only thought was that Buddy was going to be on that plane no matter what. The Big Bopper got Waylon’s seat…

  13. Good to hear how many of you are ready for the country. Did anyone get a chance to check out the clips in this post? Thoughts?

  14. Hank Fan

    Regarding the plane discussion, I think there was a pretty good chance that Buddy would have turned out a lot like his pal Waylon actually did. Based on his Lubbock background and early musical influences (mainly Hank Williams), Buddy easily could have “gone country.” Compare Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Rich, two early rockers who made the transition.

  15. misterioso

    Hank fan, you may well be right. This is something we were spared, you might say.

    Oats, despite being not quite ready for the country, I like the country Neil very much. Check out his appearance on Austin City Limits around this time, it is great.

  16. bostonhistorian

    The “what would Buddy have done” question is a really interesting one. His early covers show he was just as interested in r’n’b as he was in pure country and when he moved to NYC he had access to all kinds of musicians–there’s no way he would have recorded “Raining In My Heart” in Clovis with Norman Petty, and clearly he was looking for at least some kind of Bobby Darin-like pop success. Given his experience in Nashville, where Owen Bradley couldn’t make head or tails of him, I think if he went country, it would have been more rock oriented. Then again, who knows what would have happened to his career when the Beatles and Stones showed up playing his songs–he still would have been under thirty years old…

  17. Mr. Moderator

    Oats, it wasn’t a good listening day in work today. I’ll try to make some time for these clips and comment in detail later tonight. I see you have another assignment waiting for me as well! Thanks.

    The offshoot talk about Buddy Holly reminded me of a very special celebration that took place on Rock Town Hall last year, the Day the Music Died musical holiday, which we forgot to recognize this February 3! If anyone’s interested in revisiting this historic day, all threads on the subject can be found here:


    I’d encourage you to sit near a loved one while reviewing these threads. It got pretty heavy last year, and just browsing through the work Townspeople did to commemorate this day got me a little choked up again. Thanks.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    Just got to listen to these clips with the sound turned up. They’ve got spirit, but I prefer the standard version of “Ready for the Country” – it’s less busy, more ominous. The interview is fun, especially the part about the Buffalo Springfield’s drummer. Didn’t he die a couple of years ago?

    I’ll say this about the fiddle player: he looks like a guy I’d enjoy breaking bread with.

  19. BigSteve

    Yeah Rufus looked like he probably knew how to pass a good time.

    I hope everyone had a good Mardi Gras today. Don’t forget to start fasting tomorrow.

  20. Mr. Moderator

    Thanks for reminding me, BigSteve. I’m giving up Jason Falkner for the next 40 days.

  21. My favorite part of the interview: When asked why he doesn’t work with CSN anymore, Neil deadpans “They’re different than I am now, I guess.” Wasn’t this from around the time that David Crosby was a gun-toting, free-basing mad man?

  22. Actually, I think this was the era when Neil was touting the greatness of Ronald Reagan. So in this case I, for once, might need to take the CSN side against Y.

  23. I tend to prefer rock-country to traditional country…for no good reason (see our thread on Reggae)

    The Byrds, Wilco, Jayhawks, Flying Burrito Brothers, Neil Young, Jason Ringenberg, Dylan.

    That said, Waylon, Willie, Hank, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Merle, Billy Joe Shaver all kick ass.

    Then there is Beer Commerical Country that sounds like it was written by a greeting card writer who thinks he can be “clever” like Elvis Costello but ends up writing a song about how the girls are in love with my truck.

  24. I meant

    I tend to prefer rock-country to MODERN country

  25. here’s the lowdown on the “la pasta machine”:

    as for the country, i like rick nelson-bakersfield axis, which i think includes submarines/parsons/etc. that stuff’s pretty easy to like unless you’re a categorical anti-country person.

    i have a friend who’s a country dj in new orleans and he’s turned me on to crazy obscure stuff, but i don’t think it’s fair to say i like things that are basically unfindable otherwise. it’s instant-dick to be at a party and say “yeah, country rules! Lum Hatcher (or some other historical ant without a wikipedia entry) is the best!”

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