A blog about Classic Country Western Music from the days of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers to the Rockabilly 50s, Big Hair and Nudie Suits of the 60s and the Outlaws of the 70s and the Alternative Roots Country players of today. To paraphrase the old song, Mama don’t allow no prefab phony accent, drugstore cowboys and glam queens around here.
As a kid who was in love with anything to do with American history and the Civil War in particular, this song was made to order. I played it over and over on my parent’s stereo in the early Sixties. Johnny Horton’s Johnny Reb, an amazing rare live performance. Horton’s music truly crossed genres between Country, Pop and Folk, though you never sight of the fact that he was pure Country with his wonderfully plaintive style.
The first record I owned, or that I called my own, was Johnny Horton’s Greatest Hits. It was filled with his Americana story songs and I was in love with the Westerns, TV being full of them at the time. I remember playing it over and over the year before I shuffled off, unwillingly to kindergarten in 1964. If you wonder why I loved his music, take a listen to this classic live performance of his song Comanche. The man could give a soulful performance. Written by Johnny Horton and Francis Bandy. It’s about the only horse, yes that’s right, horse of the 7th Cavalry command to survive the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It sounds silly, but when delivered in Horton’s unadorned style, it takes on considerable depth, which is the mark of a great Country singer.
I loved this dog when I was a kid. I had to watch the Jimmy Dean Show to see Rowlf the Dog. I was obnoxious about it. Never knew he was an early Muppet creation. Sounded a bit Teutonic with that name didn’t he? Thank you Jim Henson. You were the best. Of course, Big Bad John became ingrained in my psyche and likely later influenced my bizarre style of songwriting.
The first thing I remember is my Dad bringing home a dog. I was two years old. I know this from pictures of the puppy and me with the date stamped in the margin. The dog was a white Pekinese-Spitz mix with long frizzy hair and a toothy grin and enough energy for two dogs. Someone in the family, probably my Dad, named him Corky. I loved that dog.
We lived in a silver trailer house in a park near the Cedar River in Charles City, Iowa. My grandparents lived just a few blocks up the street and all of my aunts, uncle and cousins lived within a twenty minute drive of us. My Dad worked as an auto mechanic and my Mom stayed at home and took care of my brother and me.
I grew up on the classic Rock, Pop and Country of the 1960s and 1970s. My parents loved music. They had a stereo as big as a sofa. It was in a hard wood cabinet and looked kind of like the fancy dresser your grandmother brought over on a steamer from the Old World.
My Dad would play Sinatra on it, my brother, ten years older than me, the Beatles and my Mom, Country Music. I can identify most Rock and Country songs and the singer of the era in an instant, placing them not only in the year they were a hit, but also the season, spring, summer, or winter. As a kid, my parents took me to see Johnny Cash and Buck Owens in concert in Des Moines. Now that was a musical education.
In the 70s my brother and I played in bar bands. Though we thought of ourselves as Rock and Rollers, much of our repertoire, out of necessity was Country Western. I have to admit that Classic of the 60s and 70s has always been my first choice, but in recent years I’ve come to love Classic Country as well. This blog is loving nostalgia, an ode to a musical era that exists now only in our memories, and on YouTube. Thank God for YouTube.
There are not a lot of blogs that talk about Classic Country Music. This is going to be one of them.
A blog about Classic Rock and Roll, Comic Books, Classic Movies & Humor