Bruce Springsteen – The River

My friend Dave from A Sound Day wanted some bloggers to pick a song that has lyrics that we liked or can relate to. He stated, “I just want you to pick one song that you think has fantastic lyrics, or one you like because of the lyrics, and say a bit about why you love it.”

I went through many songs to get to this one. Dylan songs mostly before I realized this one hit home. This was the title track to Bruce’s 1980 double album. I picked this song because it is so easy to relate to. I’ve known friends who have lived this song. This is not a party starter song by any stretch of the imagination. The lyrics are downright sad because they are so damn real. It contains one of my favorite Springsteen lines “And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat.

I grew up in a small town with a population of around a thousand or so at the time. The jobs there were dead-end jobs and the pay was even worse. I saw a cycle even at an early age by seeing parents and their kids doing the same thing generation after generation. Nothing wrong with that but they hated doing what they were doing. It was enough inspiration for me to explore and find new things…and to get out. Some of my friends never made it out. They are doing now what they swore they wouldn’t do before.

I saw my sister get into the same position as the Mary character in the song. It ended many years later in a divorce but at least she is happy now so there are good endings. Her son was the best thing that happened to her. The funny thing is I ended up moving back near that town but I’m doing what I want to be doing not in a job or rut that I hate. Some of my friends are not in that position.

I came to realize…it wasn’t the location at all. It was and still is a nice small town…no that wasn’t it. It was the expectations at the time set upon every one that made it seem pre-ordained for bad choices to happen.

The wedding in the song relates to Springsteen’s sister, who got married when she was still a teenager. She knew it was about her and her husband the first time she heard it. It was also based on conversations Springsteen had with his brother-in-law. After losing his construction job, he worked hard to support his wife and young child but never complained.

The song’s lyrics are outstanding. Even the opening lines are so close to how I grew up. I did grow up in a valley. “I come from down in the valley,
Where mister when you’re young, They bring you up to do like your daddy done.” So it’s easy to relate to.

Bruce saves the best for last though. He is talking about the dreams we have when we are younger about what we are going to do in life until life wakes us up with a bang…at least that is what I interrupt.

Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse

The song didn’t chart in America or Canada but did make it to #35 in the UK. The album was #1 in the Billboard album charts, #1 in Canada, and #2 in the UK.

The River

I come from down in the valley
Where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school
When she was just seventeen
We’d ride out of that valley down to where the fields were green

We’d go down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride

Then I got Mary pregnant
And man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse
And the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles no walk down the aisle
No flowers no wedding dress

That night we went down to the river
And into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we did ride

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don’t remember
Mary acts like she don’t care

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car
Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake
And pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now those memories come back to haunt me
They haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true
Or is it something worse
That sends me down to the river
Though I know the river is dry
That sends me down to the river tonight
Down to the river
My baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride

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

Tommy Roe – Sheila

Another B side that Disc Jockeys flipped over and became a huge #1 hit.

In the mid-eighties, I was in a cage…a parts cage in a place that sold printers and copiers. I was the stock boy and had my radio tuned in to the oldies station on 96.3 in Nashville. They played the 50s, 60s, and softer 70s.

When I heard this my first thought was Buddy Holly. I had a Buddy Holly greatest hits album at that time and I wondered why this wasn’t on it. After the second or third time, I heard it… the DJ said “another one by Tommy Roe.” I knew the song Dizzy rather well never heard this one. It didn’t have that drive that Buddy Holly songs had but it has a simple charm.

It peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #3 in the UK in 1962.

Roe wrote this song when he was just 14 years old and it was influenced by Peggy Sue. This was initially recorded in 1960 for a small label called Judd Records, which was run by Jud Phillips, the brother of Sam Phillips of Sun Records. When Roe accepted a deal with ABC Paramount, the song was re-recorded with a different arrangement, and released as the B-side to “Save Your Kisses.” When DJs flipped the record and started playing “Sheila” instead, the song took off.

The song had some major players backing Tommy Roe. The hit version of this song was recorded at RCA Studios in Nashville with producer Felton Jarvis. On guitar was Jerry Reed, who later became a Country star as a solo act. The backup singers were The Jordanaires, who sang behind Elvis Presley on many of his hits.

Roe was labeled “bubblegum” and that label was pretty much correct… and he quietly had a string of hits. He had six Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including the number one hits, Dizzy in 1969 and this song in  1962.

Tommy Roe: When I was around 14, I started writing poems, and I wrote a poem for a girl named Frida that I had a crush on (laughs). And around the same time, my dad taught me three chords on the guitar. So I thought…if I could put some music to these poems, I could become a songwriter. And then in high school, I formed a band called Tommy Roe & The Satins.

When I was 20, I had an opportunity to audition for a record producer. I sang “Frida” for him, and he said, “Man, I love that song ‘Frida,’ but I’m not crazy about that title.” So we ended up changing the title to “Sheila,” and as they say…the rest is history. It became my first number one hit, and it launched my career.

Sheila

Sweet little Sheila, you’ll know her if you see her
Blue eyes and a ponytail
Her cheeks are rosy, she looks a little nosy
Man, this little girl is fine

Never knew a girl like-a little Sheila
Her name drives me insane
Sweet little girl, that’s my little Sheila
Man, this little girl is fine

Me and Sheila go for a ride
Oh oh oh oh, I feel all funny inside
Then little Sheila whispers in my ear
Oh oh oh oh, I love you Sheila dear

Sheila said she loved me, she said she’d never leave me
True love will never die
We’re so doggone happy just bein’ around together
Man, this little girl is fine

Never knew a girl like-a little Sheila
Her name drives me insane
Sweet little girl, that’s my little Sheila
Man, this little girl is fine

Me and Sheila go for a ride
Oh oh oh oh, I feel all funny inside
Then little Sheila whispers in my ear
Oh oh oh oh, I love you Sheila dear

Sheila said she loved me, she said she’d never leave me
True love will never die
We’re so doggone happy just bein’ around together
Man, this little girl is fine
Oh, this little girl is fine
Yeah, this little girl is fine
Oh, this little girl is fine

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

Jake Bugg – Two Fingers

This song caught my attention in 2012 when it was released. It has an older feel to it. It did not chart in America but it did peak at #28 in the UK charts. I like the echo in his voice and the chorus will stick with you.

In December of 2018 my son and I saw him at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville with Kelsey Waters opening up. There was an even mixture of young and old to see the 23-year-old play. He has listed influences as diverse as  Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, to Nick Drake.

Jake Edwin Kennedy is his real name…but he records under the name of Jake Bugg. He grew up in the Clifton area of Nottingham and started playing guitar at the age of 12. He was later signed by Mercury Records after he appeared at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival. The song we hear is the demo he made. He wanted to go back and re-record it in a proper studio but the label loved it and released it as it was.

Jake Bugg’s debut album debuted at #1 on the UK charts. He was only 19 years old, he became the youngest British male ever to have an album enter the charts at the top position.

The song was about his home life growing up. He said it wasn’t exactly like the video but not far off.

I knew the two fingers meant something insulting so I looked it up… The “two-fingered salute” in which the index and middle fingers are put up at or to another person with the palm outward, is an obscene gesture of scorn or defiance. Its use as an insulting sign is largely restricted to the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. 

And….

Britishinformal

to make an obscene gesture by holding up the index finger and the middle finger of one hand in the shape of a V while keeping the palm turned inward

Jake Bugg: “It’s a very personal song for me, I wanted to express how I felt, it’s a song about growing up and escaping and just life in general. I wanted to put it in the best words possible but also detailed and keeping everyone happy.”

Two Fingers

I drink to remember, I smoke to forget
Some things to be proud of
Some stuff to regret
Run down some dark alleys in my own head
Something is changing, changing, changing

I go back to Clifton to see my old friends
The best people I could ever have met
Skin up a fat one, hide from the Feds
Something is changing, changing, changing

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
He’s down in the kitchen drinking White Lightning
He’s with my momma, they’re yelling and fighting
It’s not the first time praying for silence
Something is changing, changing, changing

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out, I got out, I’m alive but I’m here to stay

There’s a story for every corner of this place
Running so hard you got out but your knees got grazed
I’m an old dog but I learned some new tricks yeah

So I kiss goodbye to every little ounce of pain
Light a cigarette and wish the world away
I got out I got out I’m alive but I’m here to stay
So I hold two fingers up to yesterday
Light a cigarette and smoke it all away
I got out I got out I’m alive but I’m here to stay

Hey, hey it’s fine
Hey, hey it’s fine
Hey, hey it’s fine
I left it behind

Creature Feature hosted by Sir Cecil Creape

No… this is not a goth punk band… but I will post a song from Han’s draft at 11 CST today.

This morning I wanted to share this memory of this fun local horror host. When I was a kid I thought Sir Cecil Creape was a little scary but a lot of fun. It was a gentle way for kids to be introduced to older horror movies.

If you didn’t grow up in Nashville in the 70s you will be thinking… who? I’m sure local stations in other areas had someone like this or maybe not. This was before cable, DVD’s, VHS, or personal computers.

Sir Cecil Creape was actually Russ McCown (film editor) playing the host that featured a  B horror movie from the 40s and 50s. The show was called Creature Feature and it was originally on between 1971-1973. They would rerun it through the seventies and that is when I caught him. It was on the NBC afflilate Channel 4 in Nashville. It would come on late at night. Creape would do different skits with a corny sense of humor and it worked. I thought the set was absolutely the coolest set I’d ever seen.

WSM (Channel 4) even created a Sir Cecil Creape Fan Club, which offered a poster and a cardboard mask perfect for terrorizing younger brothers and sisters, and the Boy Scouts of America Middle Tennessee Council issued a special “Sir Cecil’s Ghoul Patrol” patch.

They aimed the show at high schoolers and college students but soon children would want to stay up past their bedtime to watch it. I do remember t-shirts and buttons of Creape…and occasionally I still see a few around Nashville. Pat Sajak, long before hosting the Wheel of Fortune, assisted in the scripts.

In 1983 Russ McCown revisited Sir Cecil in the Phantom of the Opry on TNN for 13 episodes. I read where someone said he sounded like a Southern-fried Boris Karloff. That sounds right!

Dr. Gangrene's Mad Blog: Sir Cecil Creape T-shirt UpdatedDr. Gangrene's Mad Blog: Sir Cecil Creape - 1970s Nashville Horror Host

He was elected into the The official Horror Host Hall of Fame in 2015! Russ McCown passed away in 1998.

Paul McCartney – Nashville July 26, 2010

Paul McCartney came to Nashville in 1974 to record some and promised he would be back to actually play live…well he did although it was 36 years later. 2010 was his first Nashville concert ever. The closest the Beatles got to Nashville was in Memphis in 1966.

A year after he came to Nashville in 1974 I became a very young Beatles fan. Read everything, listened to everything that I could get my hands on, and saw what limited things I could. In the 80s I got to see some of the rooftop Let It Be concert on MTV. It was like the pictures I’d seen coming to life…it made it real…or as real as it got to me.

When the Paul McCartney concert was announced in spring of 2010… I bought tickets right away. I just knew something would happen. The concert would be postponed or something awful would happen…there was no way I was going to see him. My wife, my son Bailey, and I had tickets. Sure enough…on the night of the concert…just a couple of hours before it started… a tornado did damage in Nashville (no injuries) and a warning was out for downtown. While we were there and I just knew…so this is how it’s all going to end…me with a McCartney ticket in my hand.

Waiting at the venue…McCartney came on an hour late to wait for all the warnings to die down. When he came on I was pretty much in shock…all the years reading, watching, and listening to the guy…he wasn’t yet real until he broke into “Venus and Mars” an old Wings song. I was 43 and I felt like a 12 year old kid and I was full of emotion. When he started his first Beatles song of the night…All My Loving…it was even more emotion. This is the man who played with Lennon, Harrison, and Starr at the Cavern Club, Hamburg, and all over the world.

I always was jealous of my friends who liked modern bands…who could just go and see them in concert when we were younger and buy their new records. Most of the bands I grew up liking had broken up or changed years ago.

The concert was worth the wait.

This was Bailey’s first concert…his second was Ringo, third was Paul McCartney again, and fourth was The Who…I told him he was lucky…my first concert was REO Speedwagon…no offense to them but there is no comparison. Jennifer actually got to see Elvis for her first concert…when she was a small child in 1976 in West Virginia…

Paul played around three hours of solo, Wings, Fireman, and of course Beatles songs. With as many songs as Paul has…he could have played most of the night without repeating a song. I saw him again in 2014 and again he was great and added a few more songs… but nothing will beat that first time.

Setlist for July 26, 2010

Venus and Mars
Rock Show
Jet
All My Loving
Letting Go
Got to Get You Into My Life
Highway (The Fireman Song)
Let Me Roll It
The Long and Winding Road
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
Let ‘Em In
My Love
I’m Looking Through You
Tequila (The Champs cover)
Two of Us
Blackbird
Here Today
Dance Tonight
Mrs. Vanderbilt
Eleanor Rigby
Ram On
Something
Sing the Changes (The Fireman song)
Band on the Run
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Back in the U.S.S.R.
I’ve Got a Feeling
Paperback Writer
A Day in the Life / (With Give Peace A Chance Snippet)
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

Encore:
Day Tripper
Lady Madonna
Get Back

Encore 2:
Yesterday
Helter Skelter
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
The End

Paul McCartney in Nashville 1974

Back in the early seventies, there was a line between rock and country. Now that line is blurred quite a bit but when Paul came to Nashville…it was a huge deal here. Some country artists wondered why a Beatle was coming here.

I’ve written some here but I don’t do it justice… His month stay involved an emergency room visit, a visit to Johnny Cash, Loveless Motel (great place to eat), and many other places. Please read this.. https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/article/13007056/when-we-was-fab

People here still talk about this visit to the city. I was only 7 and it was one year before I got into the Beatles. I faintly remember the newscasts. On June 6, 1974, Paul arrived and said he chose Nashville for his month’s stay as a rehearsal base for an upcoming tour. He also planned to enjoy himself while here, socializing with the community and horseback riding.

Paul said: “I rather fancy the place,”  “It’s a musical center. I’ve just heard so much about it that I wanted to see for myself.”

He recorded songs, went to the Grand Ole Opry, met Porter Waggner and Dolly Parton, ate some Kentucky Fried Chicken, and visited Printers Alley. Paul and Linda lived on a farm in Lebanon that  Curly Putman Jr rented…that is where the title Juniors Farm came from. Putman was a songwriter who wrote some huge songs like The Green Green Grass of Home, He Stopped Loving Her Today, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and many more.

I have a cousin that lives down the road from the farm Paul and Linda stayed at…he got this shot but it’s a little dark. They added some columns since 1974.IMG_2102.PNG

Former Beatle Paul McCartney takes his wife, Linda, for a spin around the lawn of the home of songwriter Curly Putman July 17, 1974, where the McCartneys have been living during their visit to Nashville.

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 McCartney's Nashville past

 

 

 

 

 

Neil Young – Heart Of Gold

A giant hit for Neil Young.

James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt sang backup on this song. They don’t come in until the end of the song. Like Young, Taylor and Ronstadt were in town to appear on The Johnny Cash Show (the song’s producer Elliot Mazer had produced Ronstadt’s 1970 Silk Purse album). Young convinced them to lend their voices to this track, and they came in the day after the rest of the song was completed.

This song was recorded in Nashville in just two takes. The musicians were not familiar with Young or the song. This spontaneity created just the right feel for the track…something that would have never come about through additional tweaking. This style of recording, where top-tier studio musicians are asked to give total focus to a take with little instruction, is something Bob Dylan often did.

By far, this was the biggest hit for Young as a solo artist, Peaking at #1 on the Billboard 100 in 1972…the Harvest album peaked at #1 a week earlier,

Linda Ronstadt: “We were sat on the couch in the control room, but I had to get up on my knees to be on the same level as James because he’s so tall. Then we sang all night, the highest notes I could sing. It was so hard, but nobody minded. It was dawn when we walked out of the studio.”

 

From Songfacts

With a straightforward metaphor and complete lack of pathos, this is not a typical Neil Young song. It finds him mining for a “heart of gold,” which depending on your perspective, is either a touching and heartfelt sentiment, or a mawkish platitude. Rolling Stone took the churlish view, complaining that the album evoked “superstardom’s weariest clichés.” The listening public and Young’s fans were far more accepting, and the song became his biggest hit.

Young wrote this in 1971 after he suffered a back injury that made it difficult for him to play the electric guitar, so on the Harvest tracks he played acoustic. Despite the injury, Young was in good spirits (possibly thanks to the painkillers), which is reflected in this song. The next few years were more challenging for Young, as he suffered a series of setbacks: His son Zeke was born with cerebral palsy, his friend Danny Whitten died, and he split with his girlfriend, Carrie Snodgress. His next three albums, which became known as “The Ditch Trilogy,” expressed these dark times in stark contrast to “Heart of Gold.”

This song was recorded at the first sessions for the Harvest album, which took place on Saturday, February 6, 1971 and were set up the night before.

Neil Young was in Nashville to record a performance for The Johnny Cash Show along with Tony Joe White, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Elliot Mazer, a producer who owned nearby Quadrafonic Studios, set up a dinner party on February 5, inviting the show’s guests and about 50 other people. Mazer was friends with Young’s manager Elliot Roberts, who introduced the two at the gathering. Young and Mazer quickly hit it off when Neil learned that Elliot has produced a band called Area Code 615. Young asked if he could set up a session the next day, and Mazer complied.

Nashville has an abundance of studio musicians, but getting them to work on a Saturday could be a challenge. Mazur was able to get one member of Area Code 615: Drummer Kenny Buttrey. The other musicians he found were guitarist Teddy Irwin, bass player Tim Drummond, and pedal steel player Ben Keith. All were seasoned pros.

Keith, who had never heard of Neil Young, recalls showing up late and sitting down to play right away. He says they recorded five songs before they stopped for introductions.

A very influential musician, he was never too concerned about making hit records. His next-highest Hot 100 entry was his next single, “Old Man,” which reached #31.

At the time, Taylor and Young were huge stars, but Ronstadt had yet to land a big hit. Her talent was obvious to those around her, but poor song selection and promotion kept her from the top ranks. Young exposed her to arena crowds when he brought her along as the opening act on his Time Fades Away tour in early 1973, but it was another two years before she landed that elusive hit, going to #1 with “You’re No Good.”

In the liner notes to his Decade collection, Young said: “This song put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch.”

This statement reflected Young’s aversion to fame, and was not meant to demean the song. In a later interview with NME, he clarified: “I think Harvest is probably the finest record I’ve made.”

Before separating them into two songs, Young wrote this together with “A Man Needs A Maid” as a piano piece – he described it as “like a medley.”

This was the song that tweaked Bob Dylan; Young had made no secret that he idolized Dylan, but when Dylan heard “Heart of Gold” he thought this was going too far. As quoted in Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Dylan complained, “I used to hate it when it came on the radio. I always liked Neil Young, but it bothered me every time I listened to “Heart of Gold.” I’d say, that’s me. If it sounds like me, it should as well be me.”

“Heart Of Gold” is the name of the spaceship stolen by Zaphod Beeblebrox in Douglas Adams’ book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Young became the first Canadian to have a #1 album in the US when Harvest topped the Billboard 200 for two weeks in April 1972.

This song appears in the 1984 film Iceman, and on the soundtrack of the 2010 movie Eat Pray Love.

Lady Gaga references this in her song “You and I.” The line goes, “On my birthday you sung me ‘Heart of Gold,’ with a guitar humming and no clothes.”

In 2005, the CBC Radio One series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version declared “Heart of Gold” to be the third best Canadian song of all time.

Stryper frontman Michael Sweet covered this for his 2014 I’m Not Your Suicide album. He also recorded a second duet version with country artist Electra Mustaine, who is the daughter of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine.

Young revived the guitar riff for this song on CSN&Y’s “Slowpoke” in 1999.

Young has made it clear that the musicians who played on his tracks had a lot to do with their success. In an interview with the Musicians Hall of Fame, he said that “Heart of Gold” would not have been a hit without drummer Kenny Buttrey.

Tori Amos covered this on her 2001 album Strange Little Girls. She was trying to demonstrate how men and women hear different meaning in the same songs.

Heart of Gold

I want to live
I want to give
I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions I never give
that keep me searching for a heart of gold
and I’m getting old.

I’ve been to Hollywood
I’ve been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold
I’ve been in my mind, it’s such a fine line,
that keeps me searching for a heart of gold
and I’m getting old.

Tornadoes in Nashville

I was driving to work this morning oblivious to the world around me listening to an audiobook. I got a call from the Mother In Law asking if I was ok. I was confused but she then told me about tornadoes on the ground in Nashville last night.

I live around 20 miles outside of Nashville in a small county. We had bad weather last night but nothing like that. I started to run into traffic and I saw huge tree branches on the interstate.

I got to work this morning and found out they touched down around 2-3 miles from where I work. I’ve seen a few buildings destroyed and it is heartbreaking to witness this. Over 40,000 are out of power and right now the death toll is 22 on the last report that I heard. In 1998 a tornado went through downtown Nashville.

This is the worst damage Nashville has had since the 2010 flood.

 

 

Buddy Holly – Blue Days Black Nights

This is a Holly song that you don’t hear much and has been a favorite of mine. The sessions didn’t go the way that Buddy would have liked. His songs had more of a country feel than Holly would have liked.

I really like the rockabilly guitar played by Sonny Curtis.  It was recorded at Bradley’s Barn in Nashville Tn in January 26, 1956.

This was Buddy Holly’s first single in April 1956, “Blue Days, Black Nights” was not a Buddy Holly composition; it was written by Ben Hall. The song was the B side to Love Me.

Due to a misspelling on Holly’s recording contract, his name was changed from Holley to Holly. This release is the first to use this spelling, He would go with that spelling the rest of his career.

 

Blue Days Black Nights

Blue days, black nights
Blue tears keep on fallin’, for you dear
Now you’re gone
Blue days, black nights
My heart keeps on calling for you dear
And you alone

Memories of you make me sorry
I gave you reason to doubt me
But now you’re gone and I am left here all alone
With blue memories, I think of you

 

Blue days, black nights
I didn’t realize I would miss you
The way I do
And now somehow I know I will pay
For the times I have made you blue

Buddy Holly – Rock Around With Ollie Vee

This song was first recorded at the Bradley Film and Recording Studios, 804 16th Ave. South,  Nashville, Tennessee. It was written by Sonny Curtis who later joined the Crickets after Buddy died. It was the first song of his ever recorded.

The song was the B side to That’ll Be The Day. It was credited to Buddy Holly and the Three Tunes…that was the group that recorded with Buddy Holly in Nashville on July 22, 1956, for Decca Records. The group name used was Buddy and the Two Tones (Buddy Holly with Sonny Curtis, guitar and Don Guess, bass). The recordings were supported by session musicians.

Buddy would record it later on with the Crickets.

 

Rock Around With Ollie Vee

We-ell, we’re gonna rock
To the rhythm and the blues tonight
Rock ’cause ev’rything’s gonna be all right
‘Cause tonight, we’re gonna
Rock to the rhythm and the blues

Well I got a little gal I call, Ollie Vee
Ollie Vee comes from Memphis, Memphis Tennessee
And tonight, we’re gonna
Rock-a-rock around with Ollie Vee, Olli-olli Vee

Ollie Vee says she’s gonna treat me right tonight
I’m gonna wear my blue suede shoes tonight
And tonight, we’re gonna
Rock-a-rock around with Ollie Vee, Olli-olli Vee

We-ell, we’re gonna rock
To the rhythm and the blues tonight
Rock ’cause ev’rything’s gonna be all right
‘Cause tonight, we’re gonna
Rock to the rhythm and the blues, go!

We-ell, we’re gonna rock
To the rhythm and the blues tonight
Rock ’cause ev’rything’s gonna be all right
‘Cause tonight, we’re gonna
Rock to the rhythm and the blues

I’m gonna shout and a holla and a giggle tonight
I’m gonna shake it just a little in the middle of the night
‘Cause tonight, we’re gonna
Rock-a-rock around with Ollie Vee, Olli-olli-Vee

Well I think Mr. Cop’s on the beat tonight
He’s tryin’ to put a stop to me tonight
‘Cause tonight, we’re gonna
Rock-a-rock around with Ollie Vee, Oll-olli-olli

We-ell, we’re gonna rock
To the rhythm and the blues tonight
Rock ’cause ev’rything’s gonna be all right
‘Cause tonight, we’re gonna
Rock to the rhythm and the blues

We-ell, we’re gonna rock
To the rhythm and the blues tonight
Rock ’cause ev’rything’s gonna be all right
‘Cause tonight, well, we’re gonna
Rock to the rhythm and the blues

Jason & the Scorchers – Golden Ball and Chain

Jason & The Scorchers had a cult following in Nashville and around parts of the world in the 80s and got some airplay on MTV at the time…they were led by frontman Jason Ringenberg and they released a couple of EPs before releasing their debut album Lost & Found in 1985. They were classified at one time as alt-country but I would add rock/punk/rockabilly in there also.

One of the things that made the band different is Jason wanted to sound country but guitar player Warner Hodges wanted to sound like AC/DC…that interplay made them unique. This song was off of their 1986 album Still Standing. The album peaked at #91 on the Billboard album chart in 1987.

Golden Ball and Chain (written by Ringenberg) peaked at #16 in the Billboard Rock Mainstream songs.

Here is some information on Jason and the Scorchers http://www.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Music/01/30/jason.scorchers/

 

Golden Ball and Chain

“Oh hello there” you coughed and smiled
Your hair messed up enough, a little wild
You said, “I’m sorry but it’s all a waste
Not a whole meal just a little taste”

Now you’ve nothing left to fight and gain
Another line another carved link of your name
On the golden ball and chain

L.A. it calls and London grooms the star
Get on the phone to find out who you are
But happiness was a dying trend
You say you saw that train around the bend

That was carrying its weight in pain
The engine straining on the full weight of your name
And the golden ball and chain

You saw it then, you saw the sign
A drowning sailor in a jug of wine
First it was her, but now it’s you
No psychoanalyst is there to tell you what to do

So now you whimper like a helpless child
You broke when they quit saying you were wild
But your tears they are like grass in sand
They speak to no one, they give no command

No there’s nothing left to cleanse the stain
Another line another carved link of your name
On the golden ball and chain

Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces

I’m not a big fan of newer country music…but this song sounded fresh when it was released. The song crossed over and peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the US Country Songs, and #1 Canda Country Tracks in 1998. The song was on the album Wide Open Spaces and it peaked at #4 on the Billboard Album Charts, #1 on the Country Album Charts, and #1 in the Canadian Country Album Charts in 1999.

Susan Gibson wrote the song years earlier. Gibson was the lead singer of the alt-country band The Groobees. They decided to include “Wide Open Spaces” on their album and their producer was Lloyd Maines… the father of Dixie Chicks lead singer, Natalie Maines. He thought the song would be perfect for the Dixie Chicks and they agreed. After testing it on a couple of audiences, they made it the title track for their major-label debut.

This album was the first album which Natalie Maines was the lead singer.

Their career was going great until all hell broke loose in 2003 after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized George Bush and the invasion of Iraq during a London concert. Country radio led the backlash against the Dixie Chicks. Stations banned their music and even told listeners to trash their CDs.

This defiant, nude cover on ‘Entertainment Weekly’ added fuel to the fire.

Image result for Natalie Maines nude

If this would have been a rock act that did the same thing…would this have happened? I would say no…

On June 26, 2019, The Dixie Chicks has confirmed that they are returning to music with a new studio album after a 13-year hiatus. They are expecting to record their first new studio album since 2006’s Taking the Long Way.

 

From Songfacts

This song was written by Susan Gibson, who was lead singer of a Texas-based band called The Groobees. She wrote the tune back in 1993 in a spirit of rebellion during her first return home from the University of Montana for Christmas break. “My mom probably said something like, ‘What time did you get home last night, honey?’ Whatever it was rubbed me the wrong way,” Gibson told The Montanan. “I sat down at the kitchen table and wrote furiously for twelve minutes, and then I went and did something else. I forgot all about it.” 

The lyrics were so specific to Gibson’s own experience, including lines about her dad warning her to check the oil in her car, she was hesitant about giving away such a personal song. Then she heard the Dixie Chicks’ version: “It made me bawl my eyes out. It was so beautiful—it had this stunning musicianship and very professional production. I could still see my handwriting on the page, and here was this gorgeous recording of it.”

Lloyd Maines, father of Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines, worked with The Groobees, and brought the song to the Chicks. The Groobees recorded their version in 1999. 

Thom Oliphant helmed the music video, which intercuts touring footage with the girls singing in open fields of wildflowers as well as performing at Winter Park, Colorado’s annual West Fest. In a Songfacts interview, Oliphant recalled: “That song probably moved them from big clubs to arenas over the course of that year, so we were just out documenting.

A lot of that stuff was shot without a clock ticking. You’re on a bus and we would shoot some stuff, and then it all was woven together with a couple of big days of shooting out around Denver. It made it look like it was all about the same time, but it wasn’t.”

The video was named the Country Music Association’s Video of the Year in 1999.

The Groobees broke up a couple of years after this became a hit, partly because they couldn’t agree on how to handle the success. Susan Gibson, who collected the bulk of the royalties as the tune’s sole writer, explained in Lone Star Music Magazine: “We were once a unified band with nothing to lose and all struggling in the same direction. Some band members thought that the success of that song meant that we could afford to take those crappy-paying, but good-exposure gigs. Others thought it meant we didn’t have to. That discrepancy resulted in each of us taking our own piece of the pie and going forward in our different directions.”

Gibson has since carved a career for herself as a solo artist, but still delights in hearing fans talk about the song: “Because the Dixie Chicks made that song so huge, I have enjoyed the look on people’s faces when they hear that I wrote that song. About 80 percent of the time, somebody has a cool story attached to it about leaving home, getting married, getting divorced, and breaking down in Moab, Utah. 19 percent of the time it’s like, ‘Oh! My mom loooooves that song!’ And there’s 1 percent out there that are like, ‘I don’t really listen to music.’ That’s OK. It’s the stories that I hear back from people that put a face to the huge numbers associated with that song.”

This spent four weeks at #1 on the country chart.

Wide Open Spaces

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, who’s never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl’s dreams no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out west
But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She traveled this road as a child
Wide eyed and grinning, she never tired
But now she won’t be coming back with the rest
If these are life’s lessons, she’ll take this test

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She knows the high stakes

As her folks drive away, her dad yells, “Check the oil!”
Mom stares out the window and says, “I’m leaving my girl”
She said, “It didn’t seem like that long ago”
When she stood there and let her own folks know

She needed wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

She knows the high stakes
She knows the highest stakes
She knows the highest stakes
She knows the highest stakes