Thursday, August 14, 2008

“…and it’s not a country station if they don’t play Merle Haggard…”

The title of this post is part of a longer mantra (the beginning goes “It’s not a rock ‘n’ roll station if they don’t play Chuck Berry…”) that I’ve done my darndest to live up to, and like the nostalgia-clinging old fogey I’ve become, the words become more and more relevant with each passing day. Some folks argue that you shouldn’t assign labels to music, and I won’t disagree that they make a strong argument…but I also believe you have to have some point of reference.

Here are some of the individuals who are scoring with records in the country Top 20 as of this post. Jessica Simpson. (Jessica Simpson?) Darius Rucker, former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish (actually, his song—Don’t Think That I Don’t Think About It—is not too bad). Kid Rock. Even artists like Jewel and Huey Lewis (a duet with Garth Brooks, Lewis' Workin’ For a Livin’) have seen Top 20 Country chart action in this year alone.

Anyway, since it’s too late to make a long story short, I was listening to some downloaded Usenet tunes earlier today and I came across a new song entitled This is Our Time, and the song is credited to “David Frizzell & Friends.” David, brother of country music great Lefty, had a brief run back in the 1980s as a popular country artist, including several Top 10 duets with Shelly West (daughter of Dottie; their biggest hit was the chart-topping You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma) and a #1 novelty tune with the unforgettable title I’m Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home. Frizzell’s Our Time brings back many performers who enjoyed not-too-shabby stays at the top of the country charts: T. Graham Brown, Helen Cornelius, Lacy J. Dalton, Jimmy Fortune (of the Statler Brothers), Allen Frizzell (a stand-in for brother Lefty), Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Johnny Lee, Johnny Rodriguez (I didn’t recognize either Rodriguez or Lee—it’s only when they started to sing that I knew who they were), Jeannie Seely, Joe Stampley and Gene Watson.

Will this record become a hit? Hell no…you’d first have to convince country music stations to program and play it, and I don’t think there’s that much payola in the world. Still, for someone like me who earned a barely-gettin’-by wage by playing these artists’ records back in my country D.J. days, it brought back a flood of misty water colored memories. Here’s the video:


Anonymous said...

I was going to comment on the Bobby Darin sing-along and say something like "only the good die young, but that begs the question... Why am I still around?

But when I listed to "This is Our Time", I was flooded with even more memories! That song incorporated the lines from so many great songs, i.e. I'm going to hire a wino...

I think you've given me enough ammo to write a few more stories about traveling on Memory Lane.


Jim Leeds -

Anonymous said...

I seem to have misspelled "listened". Ivan, you need a grammar checker on this thing.

Bill Crider said...

I haven't listened to a contemporary country station in years. If they'd play these artists, though, I would.