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.
When I think of a nice bedtime story, I think of Trotskyite music reviews. Here’s a lovely review of the new Alicia Keys from noted music publication World Socialist Web Site:
“Girl on Fire” is the album’s most recognizable single and its title track. One hears it everywhere. The song lifts a section of its melody from Berlin’s 1986 power ballad “Take My Breath Away.” Like that song, the single features its share of melodramatic qualities, as Keys’ reaching vocals herald the triumphs of a girl—any girl will do—against the odds. A repetitive and bombastic work.
“Girl on Fire” was also the song played by Keys during her recent performance at President Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural ball. As the president and his wife looked on, Keys sang and changed her song’s lyrics to celebrate them. “He’s living in a world and it’s on fire,” Keys sang, “filled with catastrophe. But he knows he can find a way.” “Everybody knows Michelle is his girl,” she added, “together they run the world.”
This was pretty shameful, although predictable as well. Keys belongs to an affluent layer for whom race, gender and sexuality—and themselves, mostly—are the chief concerns in life and who have no difficulty at this point accommodating themselves to the actions of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, in fact, they hardly give the matter a thought. Such an accommodation with power and money, however, does not go hand in hand with serious artistry and an important treatment of life.
Is it any wonder so much of this music feels so thoroughly empty?
Happy 51st birthday to Axl Rose…