Just before "The Nashville Sound" took off (and Elvis's Rock'n Roll.) Hank Williams Sr. and "Honky-Tonk" music was at its height. Ray Price was a close friend of Hank Williams, and after Hank died from hard living, and a broken heart, Ray Price took over Hank's place in the band. When he realized that "Honky-Tonk" was the only music Hank's band could play, he split-up and went out on his own. I love Ray Price's music, I love that swing, steel-guitar, and fiddle. Good stuff, and what a voice that matured so rich! It's Pop, and Country, and Swing, and a little Honky-Tonk, and a new formula - the 4/4 shuffle beat. Way to go Ray!
City Lights - Ray Price
Crazy Arms - #1 for 20 weeks. A later, more favorite version.
Hold everything Kermit! Let's back up to 1949 - from 1953 (the year Hank Williams Sr. died on January 1.) I always get a kick out of this song. Sounds a little like Texas swing cowboy music. Roy Rogers would be proud.
"The Nashville Sound" was a more sophisticated, polished sound without "the Twang." It was designed to reach a wider audience. It began in the late '50s when record producers Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson; as well as sound engineers, and other record labels in Nashville developed "the new formula" and cranked it out in a feverish production line of new releases. The early pioneers of the "Nashville Sound" included: Jim Reeves, Brenda Lee, Dottie West, Eddy Arnold, Ray Price, and it continued through the 1960's. "The Nashville Sound" was challenged by a new more pronounced sound ("The Bakersfield Sound") that later became "Countrypolitan." Chet Atkins described the Nashville Sound by reaching into his pocket and jingling his change . . . "It's the sound of money."
For a period of 5 years, The Nashville Sound was the ONLY music worth listening to on regular radio (unless you are a fan of the crap being produced today, for the most part.)
The singers could sing, the words were understood, the music was pleasant. Thank God there are now more choices, esp. with Sirius XM
My favorite "Outlaw, and Man in Black" took Country Music in a new direction. I really liked Johnny Cash, more the man than his music, maybe the most of all the country artists; next to my childhood favorite - Roy Rogers. I think many would agree.
The narration here is a little rough, but it tells the story of Johnny and June Carter... without pulling any punches - Whoa! June was the daughter of Ezra and Maybelle Carter, who gave birth to American Country Music back in the hills of Virginia. The Carter family cut the first Country record.
"The Nashville Sound" was challenged by a new sound coming from out West - "The Bakersfield Sound." They didn't want to be a part of the Nashville music scene and the direction it was going. They thought that Country Music had "sold-out" to the "Nashville pop sound" and had deserted its "Country" roots. So they were considered the rebels and outlaws of Country music by the Nashville scene. Johnny Cash was sort of the trailblazer, since he was always the rebel, but always the common man hero too. Willie Nelson was one of the artists that was disillusioned with Nashville and went "Outlaw" to Texas. But it was Chet Atkins (one of the creators of the Nashville Sound) that helped Willie Nelson, when nobody was interested, to become a big star. I believe the "Bakersfield Sound" was beginning to emerge in the 1960s, but came on strong in the 1970's. Buck Owens was one of the pioneers of the new sound.
Merle Haggard saw Johnny Cash play at San Quentin Prison. Merle was an inmate there at the time. He was so impressed by Johnny Cash, he went into Country Music when he got out.
That's a good one Christie. Yup, that's the way I ride my bike down hills... it doesn't work going uphill. Jimmy Buffet sure gets around. I've been to his Original Margaritaville Café in Key West, Florida... they're all over the place now... everywhere, and stores too! See what you can do with 3-chords (D, A, G)... you can go a long way. Keep playing that Ukulele. Why do you think I am studying the history of Country Music here. I am gonna write a hit song... like Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson!!! I got my cowboy hat. It doesn't seem that hard to me... just like riding a bicycle I suppose - it's easy.
What wonderful posts, Nick. Thanks so much. I have to admit that, growing up, country music totally turned me off (it was a favorite of my sister's...she did not care for Doris except for DD's country songs). Now, I can appreciate it a lot more (especially since the current alternatives are such junk).
I learned something too Mike. Once you know the history, country music makes more sense; and there is something REAL about it! Somebody turned me on to country music awhile back - I generally avoided it too before that. I finally broke down a bought a country album in the height of my Rock days in about 1980. It was this album below: "San Antonio Rose." I didn't know anything about it... I just liked the cover. I was living out in "the boonies" at the time, and I fell in LOVE with these songs!!! I would listen to it as an alternative to Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and other heavy bands. Here's a couple of songs off the first country album I ever purchased. You can hear the words! It's a great album - I highly recommend it... a real gem. It's on Amazon.
Ray Price's mellow voice balanced out Willie Nelson's nasal sound... they did wonderful duets. Here's another Ray Price hit, with the lovely Barbara Mandrell. I always liked Barbara Mandrell as you know. Love that shuffle-step swing. Dig it!
I always liked Dolly Parton. Met her in Pigeon Forge a few years back, and she was really delightful and down to earth. She was walking around Dollywood and stopped us to say hello. We talked about 20 minutes, and I was hooked.
As for the music itself, for me it has been VINCE GILL. An album called THE KEY. If you don't know it or haven't heard it, you must. It is almost biographical for him and true country. Folks like Vince, Dolly and the other long termers make a big deal about that.
I like new country too...Love Kenny Chesney. I ADORE the tv show from last year, NASHVILLE, and can't wait for it to return.
But then...I go back to the 50's when I bought 45's by Marty Robbins, Eddy Arnold, The Everly Brothers (anything and everything)...especially SONGS MY DADDY TAUGHT ME. I liked Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Jim Reeves...they were all top knotch.
However...I still cannot listen to Hank (Nasal) Snow or Hank Williams, Sr.
That must have been neat meeting Dolly Parton. Gosh, there are so many... Here's a weird turn... It is almost impossible to categorize Joni Mitchell, and Country isn't quite her thing (no twang,) maybe Country-folk? and some of her stuff was definitely Celtic (her early stuff.) I was LUCKY to find these little gems the other day. OMG, it's JOHN DENVER, before John Denver! No wonder I fell in love with Joni, and she plays guitar... I love that about her... and like Dolly, she's smart. The videos definitely say to me: "Country folk... Western... Canadian Rocky Mountain High! Aye? - Mother Nature's Girl?"
Come To The Sunshine
Play Little David - "Ooow, I tawt I taw a Mountain Lion..."
When I was teaching (a hundred years ago), I used her song BOTH SIDES NOW to teach parallelism in poetry. It was a supervisory/observation lesson, and it worked like a charm because it was a poetry unit, and the students were able to point out all of the other things Joni included in her song: IMAGERY, COMPARISONS, ALLUSIONS, etc. etc. It was a perfect model and the lesson was very successful. Thank you, Joni..
Yup, and she can sing too. Not only smart, but deep too. I would like to have Joni as my next-door neighbor, that would be cool! Found another Western video with Joni. Not bad for a girl who had polio from her head to toes - my goodness!!! You would expect to see John Wayne riding across that river in the background, but the song reminds me of Warren Beatty in "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" - one of my favorite (non-typical and unusual) Western movies - which is also set in the Pacific Northwest, not far from Joni here. This is a late fall song, the poetry is beautiful, moody like November, brrr....... Thank God we're not there yet. It's a beautiful sunny day.
Barefoot Joni in an "Indian-looking" dress playing her guitar and singing. Where are the jumping salmon and John Wayne?
Leonard Cohen did "Winter Lady" For "McCabe and Mrs. Miller." Joni did a song called "Winter Lady" too, but it is different.