Song of the Day, And How

As well as a strong early candidate for “local number of the year.”

Dan Pugach Nonet’s debut, Plus One (Unit Records) includes an inspired remake of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” with a vocal by Nicole Zuraitis and an arrangement that at once transform and preserve the musical and emotional landscape of the work. Highly recommended.

(And I was deeply out to lunch to not know about Zuraitis — though a couple other performances here are more artsy-intellectual than “Jolene”.)

Neil, the Answer Is Tonight

Oh Alabama
The devil fools
with the best laid plan.
Swing low Alabama
You got spare change
You got to feel strange
And now the moment
is all that it meant.

Alabama, you got
the weight on your shoulders
That’s breaking your back.
Your Cadillac
has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track

Oh Alabama
Banjos playing
through the broken glass
Windows down in Alabama.
See the old folks
tied in white ropes
Hear the banjo.
Don’t it take you down home?

Alabama, you got
the weight on your shoulders
That’s breaking your back.
Your Cadillac
has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track

Oh Alabama.
Can I see you
and shake your hand.
Make friends down in Alabama.
I’m from a new land
I come to you
and see all this ruin
What are you doing Alabama?
You got the rest of the union
to help you along
What’s going wrong?

R.I.P.: Glen Campbell (A Slight Dissent)

Best album (only one I have): Bobby Gentry and Glen Campbell

Only vocal performance I really treasure: “Wichita Lineman”

And, sorry, Johnny Cash had my country TV show in high school.

Also, N.B.: Number of Campbell listings in John Morthland’s The Best of Country Music: 0

Now, that said, I will let my memorial be a quote from the preternaturally fair-minded Bill C. Malone in his Country Music U.S.A.:

Campbell, from Delight, Arkansas [a plus in itself], finally moved from undeserved obscurity when he made his very popular recording in 1966 of John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind.” Campbell had spent much of his life as a session musician in Los Angeles, where he contributed to the fame of other people. In the summer of 1968 he became the summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers, and he charmed his viewers with an easy, relaxed personality, a supple tenor voice (sharply honed through a short stint with the Beach Boys), and his guitar virtuosity. Campbell’s singing was pop-oriented, and he gravitated toward structurally sophisticated songs such as those written by Jim Webb (“By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston”), but he maintained a down-home atmosphere with his high-pitched country laugh and patter, and through the occasional guest appearance of his charming parents, who were indeed rural and folksy. Campbell’s own show in 1969 was smooth, fast-paced and countrypolitan in mood. Whatever the misgivings some country fans might have had about the style of music heard on the Glen Campbell show, most were probably delighted at the success that one of their own had attained.

 

D’OH!/Hooray Combo

D’oh: I do so have an older Jean Shepard anthology. It was just buried in the back CD stacks and I had forgotten about it. (I only looked in the obvious places. Yes, I’ve got too many separate storage areas.) This happens rarely, but makes me feel like a mad hoarder with a faulty memory.

Hooray!: The two collections overlap so little I’m plenty glad to keep both of them.

Porter Wagoner, Earl of C&W LP Covers

I listen to The Essential collection for music — But these are in the vinyl stacks:

Porter 2

Porter 1

Porter 3

Porter 3.5

Porter 4

Porter 5

Porter 6

Porter 7

Yeah, these are from the late ’60s when everybody was trying to be wild ‘n’ crazy like rock LPs.

PS for KIDZ: the position of the cheater guy’s hand was a then-hi-school fave dipshit game. You held your hand like than and some sucker tried to poke a finger through the hole before you pulled it away (classic no-tech, right?). If the sucker failed (99.99999% of the time) you got to punch him in — well, us nice guys did the shoulder.

R.I.P.: Jean Shepard (Part One)

Groundbreaker in Opryland, anyway. I’m ashamed to admit Jean Shepard was one of those famous-in-my-youth C&W performers who I never got around to once I recovered from my aversion to country. A little bit of yodel goes a long way with me, but honky-tonk style is timeless. I know I have a few hits scattered about, but was a bit shocked to check and confirm that I did not have any whole albums by Shepard. I shall correct that and report back.