Country-Rock Hall Of Fame – Michael Nesmith

Michael Nesmith is our sixth selection to the Country-Rock Hall Of Fame. He quickly moved beyond his Pop Star fame as a member of The Monkees, reaching back to his Texas roots in his solo career. His tunes with The Monkees, Papa Gene’s Blues and others reflected this interest as well as his compositions Different Drum and others which were covered by Linda Ronstadt and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He released three iconic albums in succession in the early 1970s.

One of the most literate songwriter of the last fifty years. His use of language is amazing without coloring outside the lines of melody. Imagine anyone writing songs with titles like Propinquity and Grand Ennui, just to name a couple.

The following video is a rare appearance of Michael before The Monkees when he was performing under the name Michael Blessing.

From the early 1980s, his 1970 hit Joanne

Here’s a partial discography. The first was an odd instrumental record made while he was still with The Monkees. Michael earned his rep in CR with a half dozen classic albums beginning with the flawless Magnetic South. His only chart hit was Joanne in 1970. He also produced an album for Pentangle’s Bert Jansch in 1972.

Date Label/Catalog # Title Highest Billboard Position Notes
06/1968 Dot 3861 (mono) / 25861 (stereo) The Wichita Train Whistle Sings
144
Album is credited to The Wichita Train Whistle. Mono release is promo-only.
07/1970 RCA LSP-4371 Magnetic South
143
Album is credited to Michael Nesmith & The First National Band.
11/1970 RCA LSP-4415 Loose Salute
159
Album is credited to Michael Nesmith & The First National Band.
05/1971 RCA LSP-4497 Nevada Fighter
202
Album is credited to Michael Nesmith & The First National Band.
02/1972 RCA LSP-4563 Tantamount to Treason Vol. 1
211
Album is credited to Michael Nesmith & The Second National Band.
08/1972 RCA LSP-4695 And the Hits Just Keep on Comin’
208
Features only Nesmith and O.J. Rhodes
10/1973 RCA APL1-0164 Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash
03/1975 Pacific Arts PAC-101 The Prison – A Book with a Soundtrack
Issued with 48-page book to be read while the LP is playing, allowing for a “soundtrack” to the story.

Country-Rock Hall Of Fame – Dillard & Clark

It’s hard to say if Dillard & Clark should be the fourth or fifth selection to the Country-Rock Hall Of Fame, but we settled on fifth after The Flying Burrito Brothers as their though their first album the iconic The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark was recorded in 1968, it disappeared almost without a trace, making their influence on the CR genre very low key, if major. The lineup was Doug Dillard formerly of The Dillards and Gene Clark formerly of The Byrds, with occasional third member Bernie Leadon who went on The Eagles. Note: There is not video footage of Dillard & Clark performing in existence.

Country-Rock Hall Of Fame – The Flying Burrito Brothers

In many ways our fourth selection to the Country-Rock Hall Of Fame, The Flying Burrito Brothers were the first true Country-Rock group in that they did not begin life in another genre, i.e. The Dillards Bluegrass or The Byrds Rock, or Buffalo Springfield who were a hybrid of Rock and Country with the emphasis on Rock. Their sound was more Country than Rock, in effect creating a splinter, or sub-genre of CR. Led by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman who had spearheaded The Byrds Sweetheart Of The Rodeo album started the group in 1969. With one lineup or another, the band has continued in one shape or another.

Classic Lineup Discography

1969 The Gilded Palace of Sin 164 A&M
1970 Burrito Deluxe
1971 The Flying Burrito Bros 176

Country-Rock Hall Of Fame – The Byrds

Though The Dillards and Buffalo Springfield certainly preceded our third selection to the Country-Rock Hall Of Fame The Byrds in blazing the trail of Country Rock, The Byrds took the genre to a wider audience due to their already enormous success in Rock and Roll and Folk Rock. After scoring huge hits with Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn, Turn, Turn and Eight Miles High, The Byrds membership to change, bringing in Gram Parsons and allowing Chris Hillman a larger part in the group’s direction. This resulted in The Sweethearts Of The Rodeo album. Even after Parsons and Hillman had left The Byrds to form The Flying Burrito Brothers, Roger McGuinn continued in the Country Rock direction with the brilliant Clarence White on lead guitar until the group disbanded in 1972.

Although the entire Byrds catalog can certainly be included in the Country-Rock catalog, the albums due to their early Folk background, their later albums formed the basis of their C-R legacy.

  • Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)
  • Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde (1969)
  • Ballad of Easy Rider (1969)
  • (Untitled) (1970)
  • Byrdmaniax (1971)
  • Farther Along (1971)

Country-Rock Hall Of Fame – Buffalo Springfield

Our second election to the Country-Rock Hall Of Fame is Buffalo Springfield. Formed in early 1966, the group included Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Bruce Palmer, Jim Messina and Dewey Martin. In April of the same year they toured with The Dillards and The Byrds, strengthening their credentials as present at the birth of the Country Rock movement. The opening track of their first album was the prototype Country-Rock classic Go And Say Goodbye. The group is best known for the classic For What It’s Worth. Perhaps most important are the groups their respective members went on to form, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Poco, Loggins and Messina.

Here’s a wonderful version of Go And Say Goodbye featuring Richie Furay from 2011

Discography

Year Album details US
1966 Buffalo Springfield

  • Released: December 5, 1966
  • Label: Atco
80
1967 Buffalo Springfield Again

  • Released: October 30, 1967
  • Label: Atco
44
1968 Last Time Around

  • Released: July 30, 1968
  • Label: Atco
42

Country-Rock Hall of Fame – The Dillards

You’re right, there isn’t a Country-Rock Hall of Fame, but there should be. The so called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or more accurately, Jann Wenner‘s personal favorites hall of fame has written off two of the most innovative and entertaining sub-genres of 1960s and 1970s Rock, Progressive and Country-Rock. As such, I think it’s time someone took up the cause.

My first nominee and winner is The Dillards, the spectacularly original Missouri Bluegrass band that evolved into the group to cross pollinate Rock and Roll with acoustic/country sounds. The Dillards were Rodney Dillard Banjo, Doug Dillard Guitar & Lead Vocals, Dean Webb Mandolin & Lead Vocals and Mitch Jayne Bass. Notable later members included Dewey Martin on Drums when they plugged in and went electric, Herb Peterson who replaced Rodney on Banjo when he left to form The Dillard and Clark Expedition and Billy Ray Latham who eventually replaced  Herb.

The group found early fame upon their arrival in Los Angeles with six appearances on The Andy Griffith Show beginning 1963. The following clip is perhaps the earliest live video recording of The Dillards frm the Hootenanny TV show. More video postings of The Dillards and future selections to the Country-Rock Hall of Fame will be posted on the NorthernWriter.com Blog.

The Dillards on Wikipedia

Official Website

Discography

Year Album US Top 200 Label
1963 Back Porch Bluegrass Elektra
1964 Live!!!! Almost!!!
1965 Pickin’ and Fiddlin’ (with Byron Berline)
1968 Wheatstraw Suite
1970 Copperfields
1972 Roots and Branches 79 Anthem
1973 Tribute to the American Duck Poppy
1977 The Dillards vs. The Incredible L.A. Time Machine Flying Fish
1978 Mountain Rock Crystal Clear
1979 Decade Waltz Flying Fish
1980 Homecoming and Family Reunion
1991 Let It Fly Vanguard
1992 Take Me Along For The Ride
1999 A Long Time Ago: The First Time Live Varèse Sarabande
2006 Early Recordings – 1959

World War 1 – 100th Anniversary – Unforgettable Song & Images – The Country Gink

On the 100th Anniversary of World War 1, a wonder, classic song from 1918, Steve Porter and Ida Jones performing the classic Long Boy a.k.a. The Country Gink. Splendid use of archival documentary footage creates a video both amusing and poignant. My Grandmother would sing this to my cousins and me when we were kids. Her two older brothers were in The Great War.

Original song first published in 1918. Music remastered by Mystic Hedgehog studios, copyright Donivan-Cross 2014

Steve Porter Biography

Ada Jones Biography

The New American Cowboy

Mystic Hedgehog studios presents The New American Cowboy – Performed by The Old Cowboy from his forthcoming album, the Post Apocalyptic Cowboy, a tale of the decline and fall of the American West. I think this is one of the songs I sent Shelby Singleton 25 years ago. He didn’t think it was commercial, but he liked it.

Copyright Donivan-Cross 2014