No more show for the Possum. This morning came word of the passing of George Jones at 81. Not unlike Keef and Ozzy Osbourne, his death has been looming for many years but he managed to keep hanging in there. Peering through the haze of insobriety and violence was a passionate guy with a huge soul. His charm and quick wit endeared him to millions outside of the country world. His influence is staggering not solely in music but also his credibility in Nashville if he chose to make or break someones career. His era of duets with Tammy Wynette are his peak. Please sign in the comment section with your recollections of the man.
In the recent Laura Nyro thread Townsman alexmagic made some hyperbolic statements regarding Mike Nesmith. (Seriously, Mike Nesmith “is the most indefensible omission from the Hall of Fame?” I think I could successfully defend his exclusion from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as easily as I could defend his exclusion from the Baseball Hall of Fame.) However, he touched on one point that I think the uni-mind that is Rock Town Hall should explore, to whit, the thought that Mike Nesmith is “often given credit for launching the ‘country rock’ genre.”
There seem to be a lot of candidates for that. There are The Byrds, whose Notorious Byrd Brothers showed a bit of country and was released in January 1968, or the more often cited Sweetheart of the Rodeo, released in August, 1968. The latter made it all the way to #77 on Billboard and featured a number by another candidate for country rock launcher, Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”
And there’s Graham Parsons & the International Submarine Band, whose Safe At Home came out in 1968. Wikipedia says their b-side cover of Buck Owens’ “Truck Drivin’ Man,” released in April 1966, is “now largely considered the first country rock recording.” It starts at 2:11 of the following clip:
Following last week’s edition of Saturday Night Shut-In, in which Mr. Moderator inadvertently bummed out misterioso, your host aims to please, even attempting the slow process of coming to terms with country music. Enjoy.[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/RTH-Saturday-Night-Shut-In-57.mp3|titles=RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 57]
[Note: The Rock Town Hall feed will enable you to easily download Saturday Night Shut-In episodes to your digital music player. In fact, you can even set your iTunes to search for an automatic download of each week’s podcast.]
In what may surely be a damming display of my ignorance over country music, what’s so funny ’bout Terry Bradshaw singing country music?
Bradshaw, the former Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback, is the first to laugh at himself—and typically an attempt at launching a singing career by a professional athlete is met with laughter. I can’t recall the last time I heard Bradshaw sing, but I would have thought it would have been laughable. This performance of a Hank Williams classic, however, strikes me a just fine. The arrangement is nowhere near as cool as Hank’s original, but how does it stack up against the following “mash-up” of a bearded Glen Campbell and Elvis Presley?
I was listening to Jamey Johnson’s “Can’t Cash My Checks” inattentively. For those unfamiliar, he is reported to be the new country “outlaw” and he does seem to have a bit of Kris Kristofferson/Jeff Bridges-in-Crazy Heart kind of style. The song ended and a minute or so later I checked the iPod display to see what unfamiliar song had replaced it. It turned out to be the same track with an instrumental coda (right word?) inserted after the lyrics fade out.
[Check @ 4:12 if you don’t want to listen to a full-length current country track, I’ll understand.]
I guess the most well-known version of this is the lovely slide guitar and piano piece at the end of “Layla,” but I’m sure it happens in other places as well. It’s not very scientific, but I always figured the “Layla” piece added a bit of acceptance to the end of an anguished blues, plus, it was just too nice to throw away. Can anyone comment on what the coda adds to “Can’t Cash My Checks” or how it works in other songs with similar construction?
Why have I never seen this clip before? Could Waylon Jennings‘ overall presence be any more macho? Look at his upright, angled stance! You can almost taste the chocolate thunder of that suit! Dig that starched, high collar! Best of all, check out how the lines from his erect shirt collar shoot right through his pompadour! And he has that style of looping his right arm under his guitar, rather than coming at the strings from over the top. Kinda looks like the way G.I. Joe would hold a machine gun! The song—and that twangy guitar solo—are all business! It’s never been hard to find a Man’s Man in country music, but is Waylon Jennings The Man Among Country’s Man’s Men?