Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dates of Note in Country Music, October 1-15

Category: News
(Hall of Fame members in bold)

October 1:

Kelly Willis born in Lawton, Oklahoma, 1968 (now 41)
Skeets McDonald born in Greenway, Arkansas, 1915 (died 1968)
Bonnie Owens born in Blanchard, Oklahoma, 1932 (died 2006)

October 2:

Jo-El Sonnier born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1946 (now 63)
Tammy Sullivan born in Wagarville, Alabama, 1964 (now 45)
Chris LeDoux born in Biloxi, Mississippi, 1948 (died 2005)
Chubby Wise born in Lake City, Florida, 1915 (died 1996)
Gene Autry died (lymphoma), 1998 (was 91). The "Singing Cowboy" owned the Anaheim Angels, who dedicated their 2002 World Series victory to his memory.
Elvis Presley played the Grand Ole Opry, 1954. Opry manager Jim Denny critiqued his performance by telling him that he was going nowhere and to "go back to driving trucks."

October 3:

Joe Allison born in McKinney, Texas, 1924 (died 2002)
Woody Guthrie died (Huntington's disease), 1967 (was 55). Among the folk singer's compositions were the Maddox Brothers and Rose's hit "Philadelphia Lawyer."
Del Wood died (stroke), 1989 (was 69)

October 4:

Leroy Van Dyke born in Spring Fork, Missouri, 1929 (now 80)
Larry Collins of the Collins Kids born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1944 (now 65)
Greg Hubbard of Sawyer Brown born in Orlando, Florida, 1960 (now 49)
Jerry Rivers died (cancer), 1996 (was 69)
A.L. "Doodle" Owens died (heart attack), 1999 (was 69)
Tammy Wynette's ordeal where she claimed to have been kidnapped and beaten began, 1978

October 5:

Radio station WSM born in Nashville at 650 on the AM dial, 1925 (now 84)
Margie Singleton born in Coushatta, Louisiana, 1935 (now 74)
Johnny Duncan born in Dublin, Texas, 1938 (died 2006)

October 6:

Tim Rushlow of Little Texas born in Arlington, Texas, 1966 (now 42)
Kendall Hayes born in Perryville, Kentucky, 1935 (died 1995)
Ted Daffan died (natural causes), 1996 (was 84)

October 7:

Jim Halsey born in Independence, Kansas, 1930 (now 79)
Dale Watson born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1962 (now 47)
Kieran Kane born in Queens, New York, 1949 (now 60)
Uncle Dave Macon born in Warren County, Tennessee, 1870 (died 1952)
Gordon Terry born in Decatur, Alabama, 1931 (died 2006)
Hugh Cherry born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1922 (died 1998)
Buddy Lee born in Brooklyn, New York, 1932 (died 1998)
Johnny Darrell died (diabetes complications), 1997 (was 57)
Jimmie Logsdon died (unknown cause), 2001 (was 79)

October 8:

Ricky Lee Phelps of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Paragould, Arkansas, 1953 (now 56)
Susan Raye born in Eugene, Oregon, 1944 (now 65)
Lynn Morris born in Lamesa, Texas, 1948 (now 61)
Jackie Frantz of Dave & Sugar born in Sidney, Ohio, 1950 (now 59)
Pete Drake born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1932 (died 1988)

October 9:

Goebel Reeves born in Sherman, Texas, 1899 (died 1969)

October 10:

John Prine born in Maywood, Illinois, 1946 (now 63). The folk singer has written a number of tunes that have become country and bluegrass standards, most notably, "Paradise."
Tanya Tucker born in Seminole, Texas, 1958 (now 51)

October 11:

Gene Watson born in Palestine, Texas, 1943 (now 66)
Paulette Carlson of Highway 101 born in Northfield, Minnesota, 1952 (now 57)
Dottie West born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1991)
Rex Griffin died (tuberculosis), 1958 (was 46)
Tex Williams died (cancer), 1985 (was 68)
T. Tommy Cutrer died (heart attack), 1998 (was 74)

October 12:

Shane McAnally born in Mineral Wells, Texas, 1974 (now 34)
John Denver died (plane crash), 1997 (was 53)

October 13:

Rhett Akins born in Valdosta, Georgia, 1969 (now 40)
Lacy J. Dalton born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 63)
Anita Kerr born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1927 (now 82)
John Wiggins born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1962 (now 47)
Hoarce Lee Logan died (respiratory disease), 2002. The founder of the Louisiana Hayride also coined one of the most oft-repeated phrases in American popular culture: trying to calm down an audience after one Louisiana Hayride performer wowed the crowd, Logan announced, "Elvis has left the building."

October 14:

Kenny Roberts born in Lenoir City, Tennessee, 1926 (now 83)
Melba Montgomery born in Iron City, Tennessee, 1938 (now 71)
Bing Crosby died (heart attack), 1977. The legendary pop crooner has the distinction of being the first artist to have a #1 single on Billboard magazine's Country and Western charts, with his rendition of Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama," 1944.

October 15:

Dean Miller born in Los Angeles, California, 1965 (now 44)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bitterness is Beautiful

Category: 50 Songs to Hear

SONG: Old Memories Mean Nothing to Me
ARTIST: Hazel Dickens, Carol Elizabeth Jones and Ginny Hawker
ALBUM: Heart of a Singer
YEAR/LABEL: 1998; Rounder

My father didn't like me to listen to Ernest Tubb because he was too modern.
(Hazel Dickens)

I was always much more interested in the singing. It just pulled my heart and ear toward it.
(Ginny Hawker)

I've spent so much of my time in old-time music. Hanging around with bluegrass musicians is relatively new to me.
(Carol Elizabeth Jones)

"Super groups" are nothing new. The Browns Ferry Four -- which put together the Delmore Brothers, Grandpa Jones, and a rotating bass singer of either Red Foley or Merle Travis -- was put together in 1946. The fact that three diverse singers joined forces for an album, therefore, was nothing new. The results of the collaboration between the "queen" of Appalachian-based female singers and two of her disciples produced a good album, with a definite stand-out: "Old Memories Mean Nothing to Me."
Interestingly enough, the "superstar" of the group, Hazel Dickens, was not present when this song was recorded, making it a duet between Jones and Hawker. The song is so lyrically powerful that any combination of voices would have resulted in a superb recording.

The song was written by Steve Young, probably best-known for writing the final song of the Eagles' first career, "Seven Bridges Road," from Eagles Live. The cover is slower and more deliberate than Young's original recording from 1976.
It is a biting, bitter dismissal of a former lover. "I'm not the grateful kind as you can see," the lyrics claim, "for old memories mean nothing to me." The "fine love" that the couple once had is thrown away, discarded like an old newspaper. The joy of the song is wondering at the end if the singer truly believes the words sung, for the song finishes with the line, "You don't love me now, I can see" with the title line that had followed it for three choruses left off.

One of the great joys of music is when a great song and great voices meet. That happens with this recording.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dates of Note in Country Music, September 16-30

Category: News
(Hall of Fame members in bold)

September 16:

Ralph Mooney born in Duncan, Oklahoma, 1928 (now 81)
David Bellamy of the Bellamy Brothers born in Darby, Florida, 1950 (now 59)
Bobby Randall of Sawyer Brown born in Midland, Michigan, 1952 (now 57)
Terry McBride of McBride & the Ride born in Austin, Texas, 1958 (now 51)
Sheb Wooley died (leukemia), 2003 (was 82)

September 17:

Hank Williams born in Mount Olive, Alabama, 1923 (died 1953)
John Ritter, son of Tex Ritter, born in Burbank, California, 1948 (died 2003)
Steve Sanders (William Lee Golden's one-time replacement in the Oak Ridge Boys) born in Richland, Georgia, 1952 (died 1998)
Bill Black born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1965)
RCA's 33 1/3 RPM "long-playing" (LP) record born, 1931

September 18:

Priscilla Mitchell born in Marietta, Georgia, 1941 (now 68). In addition to her own singing career, she was married to Jerry Reed from 1959 until his death in 2008.
Carl Jackson born in Louisville, Mississippi, 1953 (now 56)
Ervin T. Rouse born in Craven County, North Carolina, 1917 (died 1981)

September 19:

Trisha Yearwood born in Monticello, Georgia, 1964 (now 45)
Clyde Moody born in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1915 (died 1989)
Danny Dill born in Carroll County, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2008)
Red Foley died (heart attack), 1968 (was 58)
Gram Parsons died (drug overdose), 1973 (was 26)
Skeeter Davis died (cancer), 2004 (was 72)
Slim Dusty ("Australian king of country music") died (cancer), 2003 (was 76)
Carl Smith married singer Goldie Hill, 1957

September 20:

Pearl Butler born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 1988)
Karl Farr died (heart attack), 1961 (was 52)
Jim Croce died (plane crash), 1973 (was 30). The folk singer/songwriter's pop hit "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" made the country charts a year after his death.
Steve Goodman died (liver and kidney failure/leukemia), 1984 (was 36)
Hank Williams re-joined the Louisiana Hayride after being fired from the Grand Ole Opry, 1952

September 21:

Faith Hill born in Jackson, Mississippi, 1967 (now 42)
Dickey Lee born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1936 (now 73)
Don Felder, former guitarist/steel guitarist for the Eagles, born in Gainesville, Florida, 1947 (now 62)
Daryl Mosley of New Tradition born in Waverly, Tennessee, 1964 (now 45)
Ronna Reeves born in Big Spring, Texas, 1966 (now 43)
Kenny Starr born in Topeka, Kansas, 1952 (now 57)
Ted Daffan born in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, 1912 (died 1996)
Walter Brennan died (emphysema), 1974 (was 80). Among the actor's charted hits were "Old Rivers" and a version of Bill Anderson's "Mama Sang a Song."

September 22:

June Forester of the Forester Sisters born in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, 1952 (now 57)
Debby Boone born in Hackensack, New Jersey, 1956 (now 52). The "You Light Up My Life" singer is Red Foley's granddaughter.
Roy "Pop" Lewis Sr. of the Lewis Family, born in Pickens, South Carolina, 1905 (died 2004)

September 23:

Don Herron Jr. of BR5-49 born in Steubenville, Ohio, 1962 (now 47)
Roy Drusky died (emphysema), 2004 (was 74)

Bradley Kincaid died (natural causes), 1989 (was 94)
O.B. McClinton died (cancer), 1987 (was 45)
Jimmy Wakely died (emphysema), 1982 (was 68)
Roy Horton died (unknown cause), 2003 (was 88)
Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys make their first recording session, 1935

September 24:

Rosalie Allen died (congestive heart failure), 2003 (was 79)
Jim Denny fired as Opry manager, 1956

September 25:

Larry Sparks born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1947 (now 62)
Royce Kendall born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1934 (died 1998)
Little Jimmy Dickens became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, 1948. His 51 years as an Opry member is one of the longest tenures in the history of the show.

September 26:

David Frizzell born in El Dorado, Arkansas, 1941 (now 68)
Lynn Anderson born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, 1947 (now 62)
Carlene Carter born in Madison, Tennessee, 1955 (now 54)
Doug Supernaw born in Bryan, Texas, 1960 (now 49)
Marty Robbins born in Glendale, Arizona, 1925 (died 1982)
The Beverly Hillbillies debuted on CBS, 1962. The program featured appearances by Roy Clark as Cousin Roy and Flatt and Scruggs as friends of the Clampetts, and the show was frequently sponsored by Kellogg's Corn Flakes with ads featuring Homer and Jethro.

September 27:

Uncle Josh Graves born in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2006)
Charlie Monroe died (cancer), 1975 (was 72)

September 28:

Johnny Mathis born in Maud, Texas, 1933 (now 66). Because of the rise of a pop singer by the same name, Mathis became known as "Country Johnny Mathis."
Ronnie Reno born in Buffalo, South Carolina, 1947 (now 62)
Laurie Lewis born in Long Beach, California, 1950 (now 59)
Mandy Barnett born in Crossville, Tennessee, 1975 (now 34)
Jerry Clower born in Liberty, Mississippi, 1926 (died 1998)
Tommy Collins (ne Leonard Sipes) born in Bethany, Oklahoma, 1930 (died 2000)
Joseph Falcon born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1900 (died 1965). Falcon is credited with the first Cajun recording, "Allons a Lafayette," in 1928.
Jim Boyd (of Bill Boyd and the Cowboy Ramblers) born in Fannin County, Texas, 1914 (died 1993)
Johnny Horton married Billie Jean Williams (widow of Hank Williams), 1953

September 29:

Jerry Lee Lewis born in Ferriday, Louisiana, 1935 (now 74)
Gene Autry born in Tioga Springs, Texas, 1907 (died 1998)
Bill Boyd born in Fannin County, Texas, 1910 (died 1977)
Tillman Franks born in Stamps, Arkansas, 1920 (died 2006)
Wesley Tuttle died (natural causes), 2003 (was 85)
Mickey Newbury died (lung disease), 2002 (was 62)

September 30:

Richard Bowden born in Linden, Texas, 1945 (now 64)
Deborah Allen born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1953 (now 56)
Marty Stuart born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, 1958 (now 51)
Mary Ford died (diabetes complications), 1977 (was 53)
Billboard magazine changed the name of the "Hillbilly and Western" chart to the "Country and Western" chart, 1950. Ernest Tubb is considered by many to be one of the people responsible for this, as he claimed that "hillbilly" was a derogatory term.