The River's Badge

Friday, June 19, 2015

Jim Ed Brown

Relics? I suppose. I prefer "gems".

Jim Ed Brown died June 11 at the age of 81. For those of us of a certain age, we well remember Jim Ed. No, I'm not old enough to remember the Browns when they were topping the charts, but I know their songs, and you probably do, too. A family trio, Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie, had a monstrous hit in 1959.


For something a bit peppier, here are Jim Ed and Maxine (Bonnie's whereabouts are unknown) doing "Looking Back To See", which was later recorded by Buck Owens and Susan Raye (more relics!):


But I didn't get to know Jim Ed until 1967, when he began a string of solo hits, starting with this one:


If 1967 is too mind-blowing for you, maybe you'll recognize the name Alan Jackson from his Under The Influence album:


But enough about the youngsters. In 1970 Jim Ed had another hit with the song, "Morning". Alas, there is no embeddable video to be found, but trust me, it was a good song. If you'd like to view a live performance, here it is.

My fondest memory of Jim Ed Brown was a 1973 graduation road trip I took with my best friend, Alice. We cranked the windows down and the radio up and sang along with "Southern Lovin'". Naturally, I can't find a live performance from 1973 (because video didn't exist then?), but here is a later performance (doesn't quite do the song justice):



Later Jim Ed teamed up with Helen Cornelius and they scored some major hits, including this number one recording from 1976 (oh, I was a mom by then!):


Of course, there were the inevitable rumors about the duo - I don't know what's true or not true, and don't care. But frankly, they were both a little long in the tooth by that time to worry about "having" to get married. Nevertheless.

If you watch Jim Ed in this video and others, you'll notice his easy way with a melody. Perhaps it was familial, genetic - all the better. A good singing voice is made up of good genes, let's face it. Lots of us love to sing, but few of us can without a stretch (speaking for myself).

Jim Ed Brown was one of those artists who was beloved in Nashville, not as a relic, but as a gem. Witness the Bluebird Cafe (the real one, not the "TV" one) tribute, featuring Jeannie Seely, Mo Pitney, and Jimmy Fortune (of the Statlers):



Rest in peace, Jim Ed. Say "hey" to Alice when you see her. In fact, you two should do a duet. She knows all the old songs, just like me.













Sunday, June 14, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

No Women On The Radio!

Some guy, apparently a "programming consultant", recently made waves when he proclaimed that if one wants to build a successful radio station, one needs to stop playing women, dammit!


 Naturally that got some feathers ruffled (ooh, is that sexist? I guess male chickens have feathers, too.) But aside from the predictable outrage, this man's proclamation is just asinine. Is he at all familiar with country music?

Now, I'm not really "hip" to the latest in country warblings - my husband flipped the channel to the CMT Music Awards the other night, and I didn't recognize anyone except the two guys from the TV show, Nashville, and Reba. And I still don't know who the dude was who was dressed as a hospital orderly. But I do know the history of country music - the soul of country music. And you and I can thank the women for that soul. Need I remind everybody?


Oh, wait:


Did you forget:


What a wimp:


Oh, I forgot:


What?


Damn those women singers!


Demure:


 Ridiculous to think that women could...


OMG, not two women!


Scandalous!



 
Okay!


I still remember this:


Well, I could go on...and on...but you get my drift.

So, radio programmer guy, I think you know where you can stick your "bro" records. You can stick 'em on the turntable, if you want, but c'mon. Let's not pretend.

 

 




Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Nobody's Perfect"

I tend to watch the same TV channels. Thus, I see the same commercials, over and over.

I wonder, at times, if ad agencies focus-test their ads before running them. Because here's one I would have nixed - Liberty Mutual. Now, somebody's paying big bucks to run these ads, and yet they're (I'm pretty sure) having the exact opposite effect of what the client intended.

Here's what I get from the ads:

PERSON: It's only a matter of time before you rip some guy's bumper off.

ME: So, I'm supposed to foot the bill for you, because you don't give a shit about the damage you've  done to my car, because, after all, nobody's perfect. Well, frankly, with your blase attitude, I will make a point of staying far, far away from your "driving skills". You're just a somnambulistic inch away from making me fork over my exorbitant deductible, all because I need to indulge your fatalistic mindset.

Not to mention the girl who names her car. What the hell?  And then she throws him over, willy-nilly, when she gets that big insurance check, after she's "bumped" somebody's fender.

Here's the deal, Liberty: I'm not buying what you're selling.

On the way home from work last week, I found myself behind a guy who was weaving precariously toward the right shoulder, then drifting into the left lane and back again. This was 2:30 in the afternoon! I couldn't get close enough to report his license number, because, well...I didn't want to get that close. I obviously couldn't pass him, due to the side-swiping potential. I'm guessing he had Liberty Mutual Insurance, because, you know, life just happens. It's nobody's fault, really. Oh, I killed you? Sorry, I guess.

He probably was wearing that same ill-fitting denim jacket that the sartorially-deficient woman in the commercial is wearing - because, like her, he has no sense of decency. Or sobriety.

On the plus side, however, speaking of insurance (and who doesn't like to speak of insurance?), I'm rather partial to the Geico ad with the motorcycles, because I knew - I just knew that wasn't some prefab "commercial tune" they slapped on there. And I was right. The song was too good.

And I found it! It's the Wallflowers, and it's called One Headlight:


So, in a nutshell, if I was shopping for insurance, I believe I would go with Geico. Because their songs are cool and they don't treat me like a scrunched-up piece of plastic.

So, there's your focus group.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kicks Just Keep Gettin' Harder to Find

I can't say I was a big fan of Paul Revere and the Raiders' music. I was, however, a big fan of Paul Revere and the Raiders.

What?

Well, as a twelve-to-thirteen-year-old, pictures torn from the pages of Tiger Beat Magazine and other pre-teen rags graced my bedroom wall. Mark Lindsay, especially, was cute! (the very best adjective a 1960's adolescent could ascribe to a boy - although I guess Mark wasn't exactly a boy at the time).  Other guys in the band were cute, too; although, shamefully, I don't remember their names.

I really only purchased one Raiders 45, and it wasn't Kicks, which is by far the band's best known hit.

With teenage wonder, I watched the guys perform on various TV variety shows, like Where The Action Is and Happening, my undeveloped mind unable to resolve out the disparity between their goofy costumes and the mainstream rock and roll they played.

My semi-developed mind now asks, wow, how much did those outfits cost? And what happened when one guy quit the band and the new guy didn't fit into the costume? More outlay of colonial-bucks, I guess.

Paul Revere died Saturday at the age of 76. He was born Paul Revere Dick...and the possible band names are not something I care to ponder. LUCKILY, he reverted to just plain Paul Revere and thus was born the Raiders.

He was a showman. I imagine he pretty much controlled everything to do with band - the aforementioned costumes, the "moves", the tri-corner hats. It seems, however, that he didn't play a hand in writing the band's songs. No matter. He was the person who found the gimmick, the man who got the band noticed. He, along with Mark Lindsay, also had the good taste to pick out some good songs from some good songwriters (such as Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil). Paul also played a mean keyboard.

Throughout the band's heyday, personnel shuffled in and out (mostly out), but that's really no different from other '60's bands. Guys left to form their own bands, generally never to be heard from again. But they had dreams....

One brief member of the band was Freddy Weller, who sort of transitioned into country music, recording Joe South's Games People Play, which was nominated for CMA single of the year in 1969. One, even a giggly teenager, could sense that Freddy's heart really wasn't in wearing waistcoats and skintight white pants.

FUN FACT: It is unknown whether the Kingsmen or Paul Revere and the Raiders recorded Louie Louie first. Both bands recorded the song in the same studio in 1963. Obviously, the Kingsmen version is the famous one, primarily because one can make up their own lyrics as they sing along with the record.

I had to look at the band's discography to remember which of their many hits I actually purchased, and it was this one, which has no live video, most likely because it really wasn't a very good song, in hindsight:


The next song was better. And it was apparently serious! because the guys changed into twentieth century garb for Indian Reservation:


I remember this one! Here they are lip-syncing on Shindig:


Out of curiosity, I had to find this:


But enough with all that. I know what you and I have been waiting for. Here it is:



You can't say Paul Revere and the Raiders wasn't a fun band. They absolutely did have their day.

Rest in peace, Paul Revere. Thanks for the good times.
















Saturday, July 26, 2014

ABBA?

(The sum total of my knowledge of Sweden)


Wikipedia tells me that the producer of ABBA's songs was Bo Michael Tretow. And here I thought it was Benny or Stig. Well, Mr. Tretow, I hope, ended up damn rich, because it was the sound of ABBA that did it. The song lyrics, frankly, were neither here nor there. Most of the time they were "there". But I suppose a lot gets lost in translation.

Whether it's the Beatles or the Beach Boys or...well, those are the two that come to mind...sure some of the lyrics were good; some of them were indecipherable or, to be honest, dumb, but it was the sound that pulled us in.

ABBA had an effervescence. That's not an accident. That's studio magic. I don't like to pull back the curtain - and Agnetha and Anni were nice singers - but somebody (obviously Mr. Tretow) was twisting knobs in the studio and pairing tracks in precisely the right combination to create that sound.

Did you know that ABBA is the second-best selling music group of all time? I didn't. But I do remember that the music of the seventies was...zzzzzzz....oops, sorry - I fell asleep. Which pretty much sums up the seventies.

Country music in the seventies wasn't even a speck on the wall worth swatting. Rock? Well, we had Badfinger, I guess. And we had the Bee Gees. We had John Denver who sang about sunshine on my....zzzzzz. 

Luckily we had ABBA:








I didn't know that ABBA had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they were, in 2010. They deserved it.

More and more, I don't want to be depressed when I listen to music. I want to be uplifted. I don't necessarily care what the words say. I just want the music to soar.

ABBA soared.

 




Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Country Music Novel

Write what you know, right?

I took that advice to heart, and therefore I am writing a country music novel.

As with all inspired ideas, it started out with a song - a George Strait song, by the by - and it turned into something a bit - okay, a lot - more involved.

My protagonist is an overnight disc jockey. She's landed in a dead-end town and she spins records in the wee hours. Meanwhile, she's being stalked by someone. At least everyone has convinced her that she is.

I am halfway through my story, and, oh yes, I do have a playlist. All inspired novelists have playlists - don't they?

Sometime, in the future, I'm going to link videos to my playlist - just because the visual medium helps me stay focused - but for now, here's what I've got:

1.   Heartland - George Strait
2.   There Goes My Heart - The Mavericks
3.   Fast As You - Dwight Yoakam
4.   Up! - Shania Twain
5.   Does He Love You - Reba McEntire and Linda Davis
6.   I Breathe In, I Breathe Out - Chris Cagle
7.   I Cross My Heart - George Strait
8.   Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
9.   Mama Tried - Merle Haggard
10. A Better Man - Clint Black
11. Indian Outlaw - Tim McGraw
12. T-R-O-U-B-L-E - Travis Tritt
13. Crazy - Patsy Cline
14. Mama He's Crazy - The Judds
15. I'm Movin' On - Rascal Flatts
16. I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
17. Wagon Wheel - Darius Rucker
18. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams

These don't necessarily represent my "favorite" songs. But they're songs that fit within the story. I guess you'd just have to read it.

And here's the deal - if I don't manage to land an agent - and that's pretty hit or miss, to be honest - I'm going to self-publish. So, if you're a country music fan, you can still read this thing. One caveat - it could take me another six months or so before I finish it, and another 30 days before I figure out how in the hell to turn it into an e-book. But I'll get there.

Just a hint - number 15 is the one to watch for. That's the one that pretty much seals the deal.