If there was a Hall of Fame for great songs, Tom T. Hall’s “Pay No Attention to Alice” would be an obvious induction.
For all the talk we’ve been giving the late great George Jones here, we shouldn’t forget the nearly equally talented Tammy Wynette. I think overall Tammy’s potential was not quite as fulfilled as George because of a general sameness to much of her work, as well as the lack of a late career comeback because of the painkillers and early death. That said, when she was great, especially early in her career, she was truly great. Here’s an example, from the 1968 Country Music Awards. Note as well classically terrible awards show intro bit by Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
George Jones was laid to rest yesterday. In his honor, one more great song by the Possum.
Happy 80th to Willie Nelson!!
“Hello Walls” is an early classic which Faron Young made a hit long before Willie had his own commercial success. The album from where this comes And Then I Wrote is a good example of the singles vs. albums format in country music that Scott was talking about yesterday. It’s a really phenomenal album but it’s also clear that it is basically a bunch of singles stuck together on an album without much conceptual framework.
The great George Jones has passed. Arguably, the best singer in country music history, Jones’ collection of amazing songs is almost unmatched. Its true he did everything he could to waste his prodigious talent with massive drinking. There were long fallow periods by the 1970s. It took over a year to record “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” partly because Jones thought the song too maudlin and so resisted singing it, but mostly because he was too drunk all the time to work. I was living in Nashville in 1999 when a drunk Jones got into a car accident. This was the story of the year in that town, partially because George Jones still held such sway there and partially because of the sadness that he was still engaging in that kind of behavior.
Still, we shouldn’t focus too much on his personal life. Instead, we should remember his amazing voice and wonderful songs. Here are my 5 favorites:
5. “Once You’ve Had the Best.” At Farm Aid!
4. “The Right Left Hand.” Theoretically, this is the relationship he’s not going to screw up.
3. “Golden Ring” with his then wife Tammy Wynette. The life cycle of a relationship.
2. “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Nothing needs to be said to explain this. Except that it’s another song about a destroyed relationship.
1. “The Grand Tour.” Probably my favorite divorce song of all time. And let’s face it, there’s some really stiff competition for that. Including from the Possum himself, as we see here.
Also, the link to “Choices” in my previous post was totally coincidental. I probably would have included that in my top 5 because it’s a great song. So consider it an addendum.
One of the true all time greats, not only in country music, but in all of American popular music.
A very sad day for me.
Ornette Coleman’s 1980 attempt to put together an all-white cover band of his own songs in order to create an audience for his music, since white people were more willing to listen to white musicians than black musicians is interesting, odd, and a little sad.
The Library of Congress added its yearly 25 choices to the National Recording Registry. Interesting choices throughout, including the greatest song ever used in a political campaign (not to mention actually made famous by the candidate).
Tonight’s exploration of American culture’s underbelly is brought to you by Roger Hallmark and The Thrasher Brothers, who I think had the most sophisticated response to Iranian Revolution imaginable.
In what is the greatest deal in the world, you can buy Tammy Wynette’s custom 1977 Lincoln limo for $7950.
And check out that interior!
I wonder what kind of mileage that thing gets? 2 mpg?
Here’s some Tammy and George for your Saturday night. If I only had her gallons of hairspray, I could light them on fire and get the 14 feet of snow out of my driveway. And speaking of The Possum, he’s about to embark on his last ever tour. I hope he lives up to his reputation and doesn’t show up to his last ever show.
First, I love the 70s. Second, what kind of pain went into singing “Golden Ring” together after the divorce? Wow.