Steve Earle – I Ain’t Ever Satisfied

I first found out about Steve Earle through this song. It has remained one of my favorite songs. Steve has released a lot of great songs since but it’s the honesty of this song that I like so much.

I was working at a factory and going to college and I had a radio on while driving a tow motor.  After I heard it I immediately bought the album “Exit 0” and enjoyed the complete album. The lyrics ring true of the human spirit…we are never satisfied. Steve Earle was one of the highlights of the 80s for me. Down to earth music and very rootsy.

The night after I got Exit O I learned this song and our band played it. I went to my first Bob Dylan concert on August 20, 1989, and Steve Earle opened up for him. That was one of the best pairings I’ve seen. He played this song and the night was complete…Copperhead Road was pretty good also! I’ve seen Dylan 8 times but this was probably the worse. He played for maybe 40 minutes and left the stage. I remember someone behind me screaming…”I know you are an old son of a b****” but come on… Bob was 48 that year.

Steve is such an underrated American songwriter. The year before this song he released his breakout album Guitar Town. He was straddling the line between country and rock at this period. It’s hard to classify Earle and no need to…he writes great songs that many can relate to.

The song peaked at #26 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts in 1987. The album Exit 0 peaked at #15 on the Billboard Album Country Charts and #36 in Canada.

Just a cool note… Waylon Jennings makes a cameo appearance at the end of the video.

I Ain’t Ever Satisfied

I was born by the railroad tracksWell the train whistle wailed and I wailed right backWell papa left mama when I was quite youngHe said now “One of these days you’re gonna follow me son”

Woh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohI ain’t ever satisfiedWoh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohI ain’t ever satisfied

Now I had me a woman she was my worldBut I ran off with my back street girlNow my back street woman could not be trueShe left me standin’ on the boulevard thinkin’ ’bout you

I’ve got an empty feeling deep insideI’m going over to the other sideLast night I dreamed I made it to the promise landI was standin’ at the gate and I had the key in my handSaint Peter said “Come on in boy, you’re finally home”I said “No thanks Pete, I’ll just be moving along”

Woh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohI ain’t ever satisfiedWoh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohI ain’t ever satisfied

Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

But I shot a man in Reno, Just to watch him dieJohnny Cash

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The man in black was The Man. Not many performers can cross genres like Johnny Cash did and still does. He first recorded this song in 1955 at Sun Records as the B side to “S3o Doggone Lonesome” but it was the live 1969 version that hit.

The At Folsom Prison album helped revitalize Cash’s career. Up to this point, his last Country top 40 entry was in 1964. This was recorded live at Folsom Prison in California on January 13, 1968, and that album came to define his outlaw image. The record company told him it wouldn’t work but Johnny recorded at the prison anyway.

Folsom Prison Blues peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Charts, #1 on the Canadian Country Charts, #32 on the Billboard 100,  and #17 on the Canadian Pop Charts.  The song and album generated a lot of interest in the rebellious Johnny Cash, who made prison reform his political cause of choice. He started regularly performing in jails, doing about 12 shows a year for free mostly in Folsom and San Quentin.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Country Charts, #13 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #27 in Canada.

Johnny Cash Flipping Bird

This iconic picture came from Folsom Prison. According to photographer Jim Marshall…he asked Cash to express what he thought of the prison authorities when he played the show. Marshall told Cash “let’s do a shot for the warden” and the picture was born. 

Cash saw Crane Wilbur’s 90-minute film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison while stationed in Germany. It left an impression on Cash, who emphasized the tale of the imprisoned men, and inspired him to write a song. Johnny Cash: “It was a violent movie, I just wanted to write a song that would tell what I thought it would be like in prison.”

Cash’s first prison performance occurred in 1957 when he performed for inmates at Huntsville State Prison. The favorable response inspired Cash to perform at more prisons through the years. His next hit, recorded in San Quentin Prison, was the humorous “A Boy Named Sue,” which proved that he could be clever and funny.

Cash came off as a champion for the oppressed.  He got his own national TV show in 1969 and became one of the most popular entertainers of his era. His guests included Derek and the Dominos,  Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, Tammy Wynette, and Roy Orbison.

Isn’t that list incredible? Cash was considered a Country-Folk artist but look at the range of performers. The late sixties and seventies were like this ….and it’s the reason I like them so much…all the generations intersected at that point in time. I mean you have Eric Clapton and then you have Tammy Wynette on the guest list.

The lyrics to this song were based on a 1953 recording called Crescent City Blues by a bandleader named Gordon Jenkins with Beverly Maher on vocals. After filing a lawsuit, Gordon Jenkins received an out-of-court settlement from Cash in 1969. I have to say it does sound really close.

Johnny Cash: “I don’t see anything good come out of prison. You put them in like animals and tear out the souls and guts of them, and let them out worse than they went in.”

Rosanne Cash: “He was a real man with great faults, and great genius and beauty in him, but he wasn’t this guy who could save you or anyone else.”

Folsom Prison Blues

(Hello, I’m Johnny Cash)

I hear the train a-comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, “son
Always be a good boy
Don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry (play it to the verse, yeah)
(Sue it)

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
From a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
Well, I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me (hit it)

(Howdy-ho)

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on, a little
Farther down the line
Far from Folsom Prison
That’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away

(yeah)

Hank Williams – Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

Hank Williams only lived to be 29 years old. It’s hard to believe because he wrote so many classic songs during his short recording career. “The Hillbilly Shakespeare” was one of his nicknames.

He had not been in a studio for 6 months but this song brought him back. He recorded it on June 13, 1952, in Nashville. There was speculation that Hank Williams co-wrote the song with a gentleman named Moon Mullican. Williams had the sole credit but it has been said that Williams’s publishing agent Fred Rose stepped in and wanted William’s publishing company to get the credit and the money. It has been said that Rose possibly paid Mullican so he wouldn’t have to split the publishing with Moon’s label King Records. Williams got the inspiration for the song while listening to Cajuns talk on a bus trip.

The melody is based on the Cajun song “Grand Texas.” The song peaked #1 on the Country Charts for fourteen, non-consecutive weeks. The song also peaked at #20 on the US Billboard Most Played By Jukeboxes. Hank Williams was born with spina bifida occulta, a disorder of the spinal column and he killed the pain with narcotics and alcohol. If you look at pictures of Williams he looks much older than in his twenties, especially in the last year of his 29 on earth.

Before his death, he had been known to take morphine and drink heavily. On New Year’s Day 1953, he took his seat in the back of his 1952 powder blue Cadillac. As his driver, college student Charles Carr, headed toward a New Years show in Canton, Ohio, Williams’ health took a turn for the worse. Finally, after not hearing from the singer for two solid hours, the driver pulled the car over in Oak Hill, West Virginia, at 5:30 in the morning. Williams was pronounced dead a short while later.

Hank Williams was a genius when it came to songwriting. He influenced so many genres of music from Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and many more. He left a huge mark on the world in such a short time.

Williams was among the first class of artists inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961, and in 2010, the Pulitzer Board awarded him a special citation for songwriting.

Charles Carr, the teenager who was driving Williams to his concert:

“Hank’s song ‘Jambalaya’ was just out on the radio and he asked me what I thought of it, I told him I didn’t care for it, that it didn’t make a bit of sense to me. Hank laughed and said, ‘You son of a bitch, you just understand the French like I do.

“We were just a couple of young guys on a car trip having fun.”

My favorite version of this song was by John Fogerty.

Jambalaya (On the Bayou)

Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux Fontaineaux the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Settle down far from town get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Later on, swap my mon, get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish on the bayou
Swap my mon, to buy Yvonne what she need-oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and filé gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Loretta Lynn and Jack White – Portland Oregon

I was listening to Led Zeppelin earlier and now I have switched gears. After Loretta Lynn passed away  I spent the night listening to her Van Lear Rose album and finding again how great that album is. I would recommend taking a listen to this song. It works for country, rock, and pop. I love the opening line… Well, Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizz, If that ain’t love then tell me what is, uh huh, uh huh. 

She did a lot for women in the business and paved the way for later stars. Songs like The Pill and X Rated were largely ignored by country radio at the time but that didn’t stop them from hitting #1. She was one of the best songwriters in country history.

The White Stripes dedicated their 2001 album, ”White Blood Cells,” to her and she found out about them. Jack was still with the White Stripes at the time, but he approached her backstage and the two had a conversation that led to him following Lynn home to Tennessee and making an album with her.

They recorded and released this album in 2004. She wrote this song years before about a romance that wasn’t…she pretended to have a romance with her guitar player at the time to make her cheating husband jealous.

This one is a duet between Jack and her and it’s great. As I said yesterday…if modern country was like this…I would listen. Their voices go really well with each other.  Country radio would not play it but the album still peaked at #2 on the Country Charts and #24 on the Billboard 200 in 2004. They didn’t win any country music awards but came away with two Grammys.

jack White must have liked Nashville because, in 2009, White opened the doors to his very own Nashville-based record label, Third Man Records.

Jack White: “I said when I was first asked about her what I thought and I said years ago that I thought she was the greatest female singer-songwriter of the 20th century. I still believe that, she was such an incredible presence and such a brilliant genius in ways that I think only people who got to work with her might know about. What she did for feminism, women’s rights in a time period, in a genre of music that was the hardest to do it in, that’s just outstanding and will live on for a long time.”

The top video is Lynn and White receiving a Grammy… I would recommend watching the Letterman show version of the song at the bottom. The youtube police took the good quality one away but I found another.  I like how White and the band make a LONG build-up…and the anticipation mounts before Lynn comes on. Jack White has that country band really rocking. Their voices sound so good in this song.

The video below is Lynn and White winning a Grammy…its really funny.

Portland Oregan

Well, Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizzIf that ain’t love then tell me what is, uh huh, uh huhWell I lost my heart, it didn’t take no timeBut that ain’t all, I lost my mind in Oregon

In a booth in the corner with the lights down lowI was movin’ in fast, she was takin’ it slow, uh huh, uh huhWell, I looked at her and caught him lookin’ at meI knew right then we were playin’ free in Oregon

Next day, we knew last night got drunkBut we loved enough for the both of us, uh huh, uh huhIn the morning when the night had sobered upIt was much too late for the both of us in Oregon

Well, sloe gin fizz works mighty fastWhen you drink it by the pitcher and not by the glass, uh huh, uh huhHey bartender, before you closePour us one more drink and a pitcher to go

And a pitcher to go(And a pitcher to go)And a pitcher to go(And a pitcher to go)

And a pitcher to go(And a pitcher to go)Yeah

And a pitcher to goAnd a pitcher to go

Mavericks – All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down

The country I liked in the nineties was this…NOT Garth Brooks. I also listened to Dwight Yokum as well.

The Mavericks’ front man, Raul Malo, co-wrote this with the country songwriter, Al Anderson. Malo hs said that Buck Owens was a big influence on this one. It does have that Bakersfield sound and it reminds me of Dwight Yokum. It has a cool stringy telecaster sound during the solo. It also has that Tex-Mex sound that was popular then.

When I hear a song…the last thing I think of is…WOW, I want more accordion! With this song though it fits like a glove. The accordion was played by Grammy Award-winning Tejano music accordionist Flaco Jiménez.

This is their highest charting song to date. It peaked at #13 on the Billboard Country Chart and #15 on Canada’s Country Charts in 1996.

This song was on the Mavericks’ fourth studio album. The album features the Country musician, Trisha Yearwood, who duets with the band on a cover of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra song, “Somethin’ Stupid.”

The album peaked at #9 on the Billboard Country Charts, #3 in Canada’s Country Album Charts and #58 in the Billboard Pop Album Charts, and #54 in Canada.

Co-writer Al Anderson: “I thought that was a dumb song. Like I was doing, ‘What the hell is this?’ Then I heard the record on the radio, and it was the best – that’s my favorite record of all time. I’m able to zone in on Raul when it comes to songs. I really enjoy writing with him.”

All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down

I can’t sleep a wink anymore
Ever since you first walked out the door
Then I just started drinking to forget
But I don’t think the worst has happend yet

All you ever do is bring me down
Making me a fool all over town
They all wonder why I wear a frown
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
Hear me now, I go, whoo

It’s funny how my whole world fell apart
I think I saw it coming from the start
I tried to tell myself that you’d be true
But I expected way too much of you

All you ever do is bring me down
Making me a fool all over town
They all wonder why I wear a frown
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
I take ma’m

All you ever do is bring me down
Making me a fool all over town
They all wonder why I wear a frown
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
Honey all you ever do is bring me down
Two, three, four

Loretta Lynn 1932-2022

Very sad news that Loretta Lynn passed away at the age of 90. I met the lady one time and she was wonderful. She was the definition of the word classy.

When I was eight years old, my mom took me to Loretta Lynn’s ranch. I actually had breakfast with Loretta Lynn. My mom knew someone who knew her… we were at her Ranch that was just opened to the public. She saw us and pointed and said “come in here” and we sat at the table and ate with her. She was very nice. She kept asking if I needed anything and if I was having a good time.

She was one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. Even though I was young, she didn’t talk down to me…she talked to me. It was a wonderful experience and even I knew at that age it was special…that this didn’t happen all of the time.

She wrote about real-life situations with women during her career. Her songwriting was honest and pure.

It saddens me that she just passed away. She is up there with Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and a host of other country legends. I was happy back in 2004 when Jack White of the White Stripes produced her album Van Lear Rose.

Jack White of the White Stripes is a huge fan of Loretta Lynn. The White Stripes dedicated their 2001 album, ”White Blood Cells,” to her and invited her to share a bill with them at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.

Jack White produced her album “Van Lear Rose” and he asked Loretta to write all 13 songs for the album. The title refers to the Van Lear Coal mines from her youth. White said he would have been happy just to play tambourine on the album as long as he got to work with her.

Country radio snubbed “Van Lear Rose,” and the album received no CMA Awards nominations but it still reached #2 on the country charts and #24 on the Billboard 200. Lynn notched five Grammy nominations for her new music. In February 2005, she and White won Grammy awards for best country album and best country collaboration.

The album is great and this is the song that I liked best. If modern country music was this…I would actually listen! As I type this…I get mad all over again by the way country radio treated this album.

Van Lear Rose

One of my fondest memories
Was sittin’ on my daddy’s knee
Listenin’ to the stories that he told 
He’d pull out that old photograph
Like a treasured memory from the past 
And say child This here’s the Van Lear Rose

Oh how it would bring a smile 
When he talked about her big blue eyes
And how her beauty ran down to her soul
She’d walk across the coal miner’s yard 
Them miner’s would yell loud and hard 
and they’d dream of who would hold the Van Lear Rose

She was the belle of Johnson County
Ohio river to Big Sandy
A beauty to behold like a diamond in the coal
All the miner’s they would gather ’round 
Talk about the man that came to town
Right under their nose 
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Now the Van Lear Rose could’ve had her pick
And all the fellers figured rich
Until this poor boy caught her eye
His buddies would all laugh and say
Your dreamin’ boy she’ll never look your way
You’ll never ever hold the Van Lear Rose

She was the belle of Johnson County
Ohio river to Big Sandy
A beauty to behold like a diamond in the coal
All the miner’s they would gather ’round 
Talk about the man that came to town
Right under their nose 
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Then one night in mid July
Underneath that ol’ blue Kentucky sky
Well, that poor boy won that beauty’s heart
Then my daddy would look at my mommy and smile
As he brushed the hair back from my eyes and he’d say
Your mama
She’s the Van Lear Rose

[Chorus]

Right under their nose
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man

This song was on their debut album (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-erd ) but if it were up to their producer (Al Kooper) it wouldn’t have been recorded.

Kooper didn’t like how the song was sounding and wasn’t crazy about it in the first place. He kept on saying he didn’t want it on the album.

At the studio, Van Zant told him to go somewhere and not come back for a while. He then proceeded to walk Kooper outside and to his car…he opened the door and then waved Kooper goodbye.

They recorded the song while he was away and it stayed on the album. Kooper later overdubbed an organ on the song.  It’s a huge favorite with fans and has been featured in movies and commercials. It’s one of those album songs that has gotten more popular as the years go by.

Van Zant’s grandmother passed away around the same time, so Gary Rossington and Van Zant got together at Van Zant’s apartment to share memories of their grandparents. As they talked, the stories they passed back and forth suddenly began to form into a song. Rossington came up with a chord progression, and Van Zant wrote the lyrics based on advice the women had given them over the years. They wrote it in about an hour.

Rossington was raised by his mother, and Van Zant was like a father figure in his life, even though he was just a few years older than him. Van Zant taught the guitarist how to drive a car or the other things that youngsters needed to learn in their teenage years.

The song was not released as a single but it finally charted in 2021 on Billboard US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs.

Ed King: I really enjoyed working with Al Kooper. I believe, had it not been for Al, no one would’ve heard of Skynyrd. He was the visionary behind the band and how it should be presented to the world. We didn’t always agree with Al, but I certainly enjoyed his presence.
When we drove up to Atlanta to record “Simple Man,” we played the song for Al in the studio. He hadn’t heard it. He didn’t care for it and said “You’re not putting that song on the album.” Ronnie asked Al to step outside. He escorted Al to his Bentley and opened the car door. Al stepped in. Ronnie shut the door and stuck his head in thru the open window. “When we’re done recording it, we’ll call you.”
Al came back a few hours later, added the organ part and it was a keeper. I don’t think any band before or since, making its debut album, could get away with doing that to the record producer. There was a healthy respect happening there…and that is a really funny story that reflects that.

Gary Rossington: “We just put down in a song what our mama or grandma had said to us, they really wrote it, we just played it.”

Al Kooper: Early on I begged Skynyrd to change their name. It looked on paper like it was pronounced “Lie-nerd Sky-nerd.” It didn’t make any sense at first glance, and it certainly didn’t conjure up what their music was about. I tried everything, but to no avail. They would not budge. So, I decided if I was stuck with it, I’d make the best of it.
They were also always getting in fistfights. If they couldn’t find anyone to fight, they’d fight each other. I decided to paint a rough-house image for them. I designed a skull head and spelled their name out in a bones typeface. 

Simple Man

Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”

“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Oh yes, I will

“Boy, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Baby, be a simple, really simple man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple, kind of simple man

Jerry Garcia – Deal

I haven’t heard this song as much as Sugaree but I like it almost just as well.

It is so well crafted and it swings with the best of them. This was off of his debut Garcia album and his voice is in perfect form. When I think of Jerry Garcia I never think…hmm great vocalist… but this changes my mind. His voice is so clear…it shows what a good vocalist Garcia could be. Robert Hunter’s words flow through you while Garcia’s guitar dances all around. He tops it off with a versatile solo.

The album is a mix of folk, country, blues, jazz, experimental,  and rock. I love the roots music because it’s so clean and genuine. He made the album in 1971 with mostly himself. Bill Kreutzmann (Dead Drummer) was the only other musician credited on Garcia, which was recorded at Wally Heider’s Studio D in San Francisco in July 1971 and released in January 1972.

Garcia also did the album for a cash infusion to buy a house for himself and Carolyn Adams (Mountain Girl) and two children. This was recorded a year after Working Man’s Dead and American Beauty…considered two of the best Grateful Dead albums. Many of the songs on this album became staples for the Grateful Dead in concert.

Bill Kreutzmann was credited as co-writer on 5 of the tracks and Garcia and Hunter on 5 tracks. Robert Hunter also collaborated with Bob Dylan on songs Duquesne Whistle, Ugliest Girl In The World, and the minor hit Silvio. He also co-wrote all but one track on the  Bob Dylan album Together Through Life released in 2009.

Jerry Garcia on making the album:  I’m doing it to be completely self-indulgent—musically. I’m just going on a trip. I have a curiosity to see what I can do and I’ve a desire to get into 16-track and go on trips which are too weird for me to want to put anybody else I know through. And also to pay for this house! 

Jerry Garcia: I’ll probably end up doing it with a lot of people. So far I’m only working with Bill Kreutzmann because I can’t play drums. But everything else I’m going to try to play myself. Just for my own edification. What I’m going to do is what I would do if I had a 16-track at home, I’m just going to goof around with it. And I don’t want anyone to think that it’s me being serious or anything like that—it’s really me goofing around. I’m not trying to have my own career or anything like that. There’s a lot of stuff that I feel like doing and the Grateful Dead, just by fact that it’s now a production for us to go out and play, we can’t get as loose as we had been able to, so I’m not able to stay as busy as I was. It’s just a way to keep my hand in so to speak, without having to turn on a whole big scene. In the world that I live in there’s the Grateful Dead which is one unit which I’m a part of and then there’s just me. And the me that’s just me, I have to keep my end up in order to be able to take care of my part of the Grateful Dead. So rather than sit home and practice—scales and stuff—which I do when I’m together enough to do it—I go out and play because playing music is more enjoyable to me than sitting home and playing scales.

Deal

Since it costs a lot to win, and even more to lose,
You and me bound to spend some time wond’rin’ what to choose.
Goes to show, you don’t ever know,
Watch each card you play and play it slow,
Wait until that deal come round,
Don’t you let that deal go down, no, no.

I been gamblin’ hereabouts for ten good solid years,
If I told you all that went down it would burn off both of your ears.
Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play and play it slow,
Wait until that deal come round,
Don’t you let that deal go down, no, no.

Since you poured the wine for me and tightened up my shoes,
I hate to leave you sittin’ there, composin’ lonesome blues.
Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play and play it slow,
Wait until that deal come round, don’t you let that deal go down.

Wait until that deal come round, don’t you let that deal go down,
Wait until that deal come round, don’t you let that deal go down,
Don’t you let that deal go down, don’t you let that deal go down.

Hoyt Axton – Della And The Dealer

I cannot remember the first time I heard this song but I heard it alot growing up. The imagery of the lyrics is a lot of fun. It’s country but it’s also a little rock and a little blues. It’s hard to classify many of his songs although he was mainly known for being a country singer and songwriter. He also ventured out into garage rock, folk, and hard rock with his songs.

Hoyt Axton:  “I’m one of those fringe dudes: half folkie, half hippie, half Okie. My input has been very eclectic. I was always surrounded by all kinds of music, as my family moved around the country: jazz, classical, gospel, whatever… the influences enter from a lot of directions.”

Hoyt Axton was a talented artist. He was a singer, songwriter, and actor. We all know his songs. Joy To The World, Never Been To Spain, Snowblind Friend, The Pusher, The No, No Song, and When the Morning Comes. He was also in a number of movies, commercials, and tv shows. The movie I remember him most for was Gremlins. Axton always came off as incredibly likable.

Hoyt Axton’s mom could write songs herself…Mae Boren Axton, a songwriter, co-wrote the classic rock “Heartbreak Hotel”, which became a major hit for Elvis and an iconic rock song. Now that is a cool mom.

Axton had his big hits with other people singing his songs. His composition “Joy to the World”, as performed by Three Dog Night, was #1 on the charts for six straight weeks in 1971, making it the top hit of the year. He named his record label Jeremiah after the bullfrog mentioned in the song.

Axton had an addiction problem early in his career. He wrote songs about it like Snowblind Friend, The Pusher, and The No No Song which Ringo covered.

There are a lot of theories about this song. The dog and cat are real people. He is being purposely vague as they were all involved in some shady dealings…hanging out with what is obviously a drug dealer and murderer, but the narrator is no snitch….he’s a “cool cat.” There are a lot of theories about the song…it’s a fun story song regardless.

This song was released in 1979 and peaked at #17 on the Billboard Country Charts. It was on his album A Rusty Old Halo that peaked at #27 in the Billboard Country Charts and #14 in the Canada Album Charts.

Hoyt Axton passed away on October 26, 1999, at the age of 61.

On November 1, 2007, Axton and his mother were both inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Tomorrow I have another Axton song but not with Hoyt singing.

Della and the Dealer

It was Della and the Dealer and a dog named Jake
And a cat named Kalamazoo.
Left the city in a pick up truck,
Gonna make some dreams come true.

Yea, they rolled out west where the wild sunsets
And the coyote bays at the moon.
Della and the Dealer and a dog named Jake
and a cat named Kalamazoo

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.

Down Tucson way there’s a small cafe
Where they play a little cowboy tune.
And the guitar picker was a friend of mine
By the name of Randy Boone.

Yea, Randy played her a sweet love song
And Della got a fire in her eye
The Dealer had a knife and the dog had a gun
and the cat had a shot of Rye.

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.

Yea, the dealer was a killer,
He was evil and mean
And he was jealous of the fire in her eyes.

He snorted his coke through a century note
And swore that Boone would die.

The stage was set when the lights went out.
There was death in Tucson town.
Two shadows ran for the bar back door
And one stayed on the ground

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.

Two shadows ran from the bar that night
And dog and cat ran too.
And the tires got hot on the pick up truck
As down the road they flew.

It was Della and her lover and a dog named Jake
And a cat named Kalamazoo.
Left Tucson in a pick-up truck
Gonna make some dreams come true.

If that cat could talk what tales he’d tell
About Della and the Dealer and the dog
as well
But the cat was cool, and he never said a mumblin word.

Don Williams – I Believe In You

We are going in a different direction today…some older country from 1980. Don’s voice is just so good…he doesn’t have an exaggerated southern drawl…it’s just quality.

My friend Matt (observationblogger) posted two songs (Amanda and I Recall A Gypsy Woman) by Don Williams and it reminded me of my memories of meeting Don Williams as a pre-teen and teenager. His popularity was much more international than I ever knew at the time. This song for instance was very popular in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. During that time I thought country music was only popular in the southern US.

I was around 10-12 and I played baseball at the city ballpark. I would go there after school and practice. There were days I would just hang around and talk to people. I saw this man mowing the grass that had this old cowboy hat on. After a little while, he stopped and talked to me and asked me how I was doing. I knew the guy’s face and it came to me… I was talking to Don Williams. The reason I knew him was because of my mom’s country albums. I wasn’t into country music but some songs I did like.

I would see him off and on throughout my teenage years and he always was as nice as can be. I went to school and played baseball with his son. Don would mow the city park and the high school field. I’m not sure if he was bored or just wanted to help the community…he was a super guy either way.

This song was released as the first single and title track from Don Williams’ I Believe in You album, this became his 11th #1 on the Country chart. It also peaked at #1 in Canada on the Country Charts. It ended up being Don Williams’ only Top 40 song on the Billboard 100, the song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100, #4 in New Zealand, and #20 in Australia.

All together Williams had 21 #1 singles on the Country Charts and a total of 25 studio albums and 62 singles.

Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend were admirers of Don Williams and both covered his songs. Eric Clapton would cover Tulsa Time and take it to #30 in the Billboard 100.

I Believe In You

I don’t believe in superstars
Organic food and foreign cars
I don’t believe the price of gold
The certainty of growing old
That right is right and left is wrong
That north and south can’t get along
That east is east and west is west
And being first is always best

But I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you

Well I don’t believe that heaven waits
For only those who congregate
I like to think of God as love
He’s down below, he’s up above
He’s watching people everywhere
He knows who does and doesn’t care
And I’m an ordinary man
Sometimes I wonder who I am

But I believe in love
I believe in music
I believe in magic
And I believe in you

I know with all my certainty
What’s going on with you and me
Is a good thing
It’s true, I believe in you

I don’t believe virginity
Is as common as it used to be
In working days and sleeping nights
That black is black and white is white
That Superman and Robin Hood
Are still alive in Hollywood
That gasoline’s in short supply
The rising cost of getting by

But I believe in love
I believe in old folks
I believe in children
I believe in you

I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you

Stanley Brothers – Mountain Dew

Ok…we are veering WAY OFF the power-pop/rock path today! I was reading a biography of Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll and it mentioned he would sing this song occasionally. So reading a bio of an American football coach led to this post…you just never know! To paraphrase Bugs Bunny…we are taking that proverbial left turn at Albuquerque.

I got really curious and looked the song up. It’s great…I’ve always liked these old folk songs and bluegrass music because I respect it so much. I’ve played bluegrass with a professional before and it is some of the hardest music I’ve tried to play. The time signatures are all over the place and if you haven’t played the music a lot… it can be tricky. It made me a better musician.

I like the music because it’s so rootsy and earthy. I don’t listen to it a lot but sometimes I will enjoy an hour or so of it. It reminds me of when my dad would go to work in the morning and sometimes he would have this music on.

Moonshine Still Plans, Build-it-Yourself

Good Ole’Mountain Dew!

This song is an  Appalachian folk song that Bascom Lamar Lunsford first wrote in 1928. Lunsford was an attorney, however, he is very fond of folk songs. He once represented a man in court because he was illegally making whiskey called Moonshine. This experience led him to write the song.  He ended up selling the song to Scotty Wiseman and Wiseman changed a few lyrics but remembered Lunsford…he kept the songwriting credit Wiseman – Lunsford.

These songs are special. They were not trying to write hits…they just wanted to tell stories through songs. Instead of newspapers in the backwoods of the Appalachians, you had these songs.

Many artists have covered the song through the years like Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Mother Maybelle Carter, Grandpa Jones, and more.

Willie Nelson released a version in 1981 that peaked at #23 in the Billboard Country Charts and #39 in Canada.

The lyrics never stay completely the same through the versions but it still works. We will return to our normal programming in the next post!

Mountain Dew

Down the road here from me there’s an old holler tree
Where you lay down a dollar or two
Go on round the bend come back again
There’s a jug full of that good ole mountain dew

Oh they call it that good ole mountain dew
And them that refuse it are few
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good ole mountain dew

Now Mr. Roosevelt told ’em just how he felt
When he heard that the dry law ‘d gone through
If your liquors too red it’ll swell up your head
You better stick to that good ole mountain dew

Oh they call it that good ole mountain dew
And them that refuse it are few
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good ole mountain dew

The preacher rode by with his head hasted high
Said his wife had been down with the flu
He thought that I o’rt to sell him a quart
Of my good ole mountain dew

Oh they call it that good ole mountain dew
And them that refuse it are few
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good ole mountain dew

Well my uncle Snort he’s sawed off and short
He measures four feet two
But feels like a giant when you give him a pint
Of that good old mountain dew

Oh they call it that good ole mountain dew
And them that refuse it are few
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good ole mountain dew

Tanya Tucker – Delta Dawn

I’ve always liked this song and Tanya’s scratchy voice. Helen Reddy did a fine version of this also but I’ll take this treatment. It is the version I grew up with…I’ve always been a fan of Tanya Tucker.

When I was a senior in high school I had a job at a place called Tuckahoe Farms. It was Tanya’s farm but she had sold it by the time I worked there. They raised thoroughbred racing horses and it was huge. I was always hoping she would come back to visit but she never did.

It was written by former rockabilly star Larry Collins and country and western songwriter Alex Harvey. It was first recorded by Harvey in 1972. Tracy Nelson and Bette Midler put the song in their live repertoire before it became a country hit for 13-year-old Tanya. The melody and chorus are virtually identical to the Amazing Grace

Harvey says the tune is really about his mother, a heavy drinker who died in an apparent suicide by crashing into a tree when the songwriter was a teen. Harvey had just returned from a TV gig with his band…he had asked his mother not to go, worried she would embarrass him by drinking too much and making a spectacle. The guilt over his mother’s death stuck with him for years. A decade later, he was hanging out at Larry Collins’ house with a group of country musicians. Everyone fell asleep except for Harvey, who stayed up strumming his guitar. That’s when he saw his mother.

Alex Harvey: “I looked up and I felt as if my mother was in the room. I saw her very clearly. She was in a rocking chair and she was laughing,” he recalled. “My mother had come from the Mississippi Delta and she always lived her life as if she had a suitcase in her hand but nowhere to put it down. She was a hairdresser in Brownsville. She was very free-spirited, and folks in a small town don’t always understand people like that. She never really grew up.”

“I really believe that my mother didn’t come into the room that night to scare me, but to tell me, ‘It’s okay,’ and that she had made her choices in life and it had nothing to do with me. I always felt like that song was a gift to my mother and an apology to her. It was also a way to say ‘thank you’ to my mother for all she did.

The song peaked at #6 on the Country Charts, #3 in Canada, and #72 on the Billboard 100 in 1972.

Helen Reddy would take the song to #1 on the Billboard 100 in 1973.

Barbra Streisand passed on the song after the backing track had been recorded by her producer without her prior knowledge.

Delta Dawn

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

She’s forty-one and her daddy still calls her “baby”
All the folks around Brownsville say she’s crazy
‘Cause she walks dowtown with a suitcase in her hand
Looking for a mysterious dark-haired man

In her younger days they called her Delta Dawn
Prettiest woman you ever laid eyes on
Then a man of low degree stood by her side
And promised her he’d take her for his bride

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was a-meeting you here today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

Paul McCartney – Sally G

I’ve always liked B-Sides… Let’s listen to some Liverpudlian Country Music.

I cannot hear this song without thinking of my grandmother. Her name was Sally and yes her last name started with G. She lived to the ripe old age of 96. I have posted about the A-side of this single Juniors Farm but never about this B-side that I like. I heard this song when I was 7 because my sister had this single and it’s been in my head ever since.

When I saw him in 2010 and 2014 I thought both times…hmmm he is in Nashville so Sally G surely will be played. Nope… Paul didn’t utter Sally’s name.

The song actually got played on the country stations in Nashville which looking back I can’t believe happened at that time. Nashville wasn’t exactly in love with rock performers.

Sally G was written and recorded in Nashville. In 1974 Paul McCartney came to Nashville. They rented a 133-acre farm just outside of Lebanon TN from songwriter Curly Putman (“Green, Green Grass of Home”) for $2,000 a week. They had requested a farm within 50 miles of Nashville that had horses and swimming facilities.

The band stayed at the farm for 6 weeks while the Putman family vacationed in Hawaii. When Putman and his wife returned to their farm, McCartney saw them walking up the driveway. McCartney and the band greeted them by playing “Green, Green Grass of Home.”

I have a cousin that lives in Lebanon around 5 miles from where he stayed…not a great picture but here it is today.

IMG_2102.PNG

Lloyd Green, Bob Willis, and Johnny Gimble Willis contributed steel guitar, dobro, and fiddle respectively while adding legitimacy to McCartney’s country venture.

Paul playing guitar on “Junior’s Farm” in 1974

OFFTOPIC: Unseen picture of Paul McCartney in Nashville, 1974. | Paul  mccartney and wings, The beatles, Beatles photos

Sally G. and it peaked at #17 in the Billboard 100,  #51 on the country charts, #11 in the Canadian Country charts, and #61 in Canada.  Paul composed the song after visiting the nightlife in Printer’s Alley.

As his time in Tennessee came to a close, McCartney told a group of local reporters that he hoped to mount a U.S. tour the following year and that if it happened, Music City would definitely be on the itinerary.

McCartney didn’t come back until 36 years later in 2010 and I finally got to see him. Paul…you lied but all was forgiven when he took the stage.

I hardly ever point out a bridge in a song but in this one…it’s kept me listening for decades. It’s not the lyrics but the melody, backups, and harmonizing on the final “move along.”

Me and Sally took up,
things began to look up,
Me and her were going strong.

Then she started lyin’,
I could see our love was dyin’.
I heard a voice say,
“Move along, move along”.

Paul McCartney: “Buddy Killen [studio owner and music publisher] took us out to Printer’s Alley, a little club district,” “I didn’t see anyone named ‘Sally G’ in Printer’s Alley, nor did I see anyone who ran her eyes over me when she was singing ‘A Troubled Mind.’ That was my imagination, adding to the reality of it.”

Musician gets to stay on the farm for 3 weeks. 

Home movies of Wings in the studio in Nashville 1974

Sally G

Somewhere to the south of New York City
Lies the friendly state of Tennessee,
Down in Nashville town I met a pretty
Who made a pretty big fool out of me.

And they call her Sally,
Sally G, why d’you wanna do the things you do to me?
You’re my Sally, Sally G
took the part that was the heart of me, Sally G.

The night life took me down to Printers Alley,
where Sally sang a song behind a bar.
I ran my eyes across her as she sang a tangled mime,
I used to love to hear her sweet guitar.

And they call her Sally,
Sally G, why d’you wanna do the things you do to me?
You’re my Sally, Sally G
took the part that was the heart of me, Sally G.

Me and Sally took up,
things began to look up,
Me and her were going strong.

Then she started lyin’,
I could see our love was dyin’.
I heard a voice say,
“Move along, move along”.

Well now. I’m on my own again,
I wonder if she ever really understood.
I never thought to ask her what the letter “G” stood for,
But I know for sure it wasn’t good.

And they call her Sally,
Sally G, why d’you wanna do the things you do to me?
You’re my Sally, Sally G
took the part that was the heart of me, Sally G.

Sally G.

Hank Williams – Move It On Over

Whenever I’m asked if I like country music…at first, I wonder what country they mean. If they mean commercial top 40…then not. If they mean Hank Williams, then a big fat yes. In this country, I hear a little rockabilly and country mix…which is a great thing.

Hank Williams as a songwriter is up there with the greats. Bob Dylan and more idolized him and his writing. This song was his first big hit. The song was written by the man himself. He released this song in 1947. Two years later, he received his invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry after his successful recording of the minstrel era song, “Lovesick Blues.”

Move It On Over peaked at #4 in the Country Charts in 1947.

Despite never learning to read music, Williams was a prolific songwriter including country music classics such as “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” He recorded a total of 66 songs in his six-year recording career, 37 of which became hit records. It was not unheard of for Williams to record three hit songs in one afternoon. Now think about this… out of 66 songs recorded…37 were hits… That is like batting over .500.

Williams was plagued by back pain throughout his life, likely due to spina bifida. Life on the road as a Country singer only made it worse. An operation in 1951 gave him no relief and actually increased his pain. The combination of unending physical pain and the pressure of being a successful recording artist led to Williams seeking solace in drugs in alcohol.

Many of you will remember this song by George Thorogood released in 1978 and picked up a lot of airplay.

Move It On Over

I come in last night about half past ten
That baby of mine wouldn’t let me in
So move it on over, rock it on over
Move over little dog, the mean old dog is movin’ in

She told me not to mess around
But I done let the deal go down
Move it on over, rock it on over
Move over nice dog, a big fat dog is movin’ in

She changed the lock on my back door
Now my key won’t fit no more
Move it on over, rock it on over
Move over nice dog, the mean old dog is movin’ in

She threw me out just as pretty as she pleased
Pretty soon I’ll be scratchin’ fleas
Move it on over, slide it on over
Move over nice dog, a mean old dog is movin’ in

Yeah, listen to me dog before you start to whine
That side yours and this side mine
So move it on over, rock it on over
Move over little dog, the big old dog is movin’ in

Yeah, she changed the lock on my back door
Now my key won’t fit no more
Move it on over, rock it on over
Move over little dog, the big old dog is movin’ in

Move it on over, move it on over
Move it on over, won’t’cha rock it on over
Move over cool dog, the hot dog’s movin’ in