country music


My mother’s favorite male celebrities were Liberace and Claude Akins.

I know! That’s quite a pair (comparable: Ernest Borgnine and Paul Lynde;  Charles Bronson and Charles Nelson Reilly). But she was a banquet waitress and a true small-d democrat. She cherished equally the autographs of both men, superstars from a kinder, gentler era.

Been having trucking songs running through my head lately. Found this clip from Movin’ On, which starred Akins and had a great song by Merle Haggard

Staying with truckin’ songs, and trying to match the weirdness of my mother’s pairing (God rest her),  another classic, albeit one from a distinct tradition, that of the scary, exhilarating roller coaster ride that is a Fall song:

Fancy: Gonna move you uptown

Bobbie Gentry’s “Fancy”, another entry in the creepiest country song ever sweepstakes.

If you know it, you probably know it from Reba’s over-the-top 1990 version. This one is over the top in its own way but the song just comes off way cooler, like something off Dusty in Memphis. (I had to look it up to check, but Dusty never covered this, which is a shame.) Love the set, the body suit, the de rigeur spidery eyes, and Bobbie’s little shuffle strut dance.

“Blood harmony”

Absolutely killer performance of a Richard Thompson song by Del McCoury, along with sons Ronnie and Rob. If you stick around to the end (and you should), there’s a brief chat where Vince Gill talks about “blood harmony … nothing better in the world than hearing family sing together .”

Del looks like a complete gentleman but when he narrows those eyes, well, when he sings “I tell you in earnest I’m a dangerous man,” there is no suspension of disbelief needed on my part.

I also think highly of the line, “Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme.”

From the golden age of Nashville sleaze

Conway Twitty, far and away, the biggest horndog country music ever produced. This one is borderline sex offender registry material. But great song, and killer pompadour. Bonus points for the awesome vocal “bum-bum-bums”, and workin’ that salmon leisure suit with white shoes.

RIP Carl Smith, honky tonk hero

RIP Carl Smith, who died Saturday. He wore nice suits, had a killer smile and a gravity-defying pompadour. He played with a first-rate backing band, and his songs had more than a little swagger, sometimes even a smidgen of sleaze. His tuneful voice, in the nasal Hank Williams tradition, could cut through the smoke and noise of any honky-tonk.

He-eey-ey Joe — Come On Let’s Be Buddy Duddies
Show Me You’re My Palsie Walsie
Introduce That Pretty Little Chick To Me
Hey Joe — Quit That Waitin’ Hesitatin’
Let Me At Her What’s The Matter
You’re As Slow As Any Joe Can Be

The Essential Carl Smith would be a perfect choice for a long drive across a flat state, and should feature prominently on the jukebox in the dive bar in heaven.

He was a dude, and he abides.

more about “Carl Smith – 1960’s – Hey Joe“, posted with vodpod

The dust that Pancho bit

Just stumbled across this footage of  Townes Van Zandt And Guy Clark, when they were just kids. Described as “1970’s film clips which were part of a motion picture homage to West Texas troubadours titled ‘Heartworn Highways.'”

Loved the old guy’s tears during ‘Waitin’ around to die.’

Also available on the Internets from the same film, Van Zandt performing his scary great Pancho and Lefty and a sloppy session with Rodney Crowell and a skinny Steve Earle from Christmas Eve, 1975.

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