Webb Wilder – Tough It Out

Webb Wilder is just different…different in a great way. He looks like he dropped out of a 50’s black and white detective show. The song peaked at #16 in the Mainstream Rock Songs in 1992.

His real name is John “Webb” McMurry and according to wiki “The Webb Wilder character was created in 1984 for a short comedy film created by friend called “Webb Wilder Private Eye.” The character was a backwoods private detective who fell out of the 1950s and happened to also be a musician. The short appeared on the television variety show “Night Flight.”[Whatever it is it works.

Webb Wilder’s quote when asked what kind of music he plays.

 “I came to Nashville as kind of a hunch, an educated guess that it would be a good place for me. Rock ‘n’ roll and country have more in common than not. We don’t have the typical Nashville country sound, but we thought we could use that to our advantage. It’s sorta like we’re a roots band for rock ‘n’ roll fans and a rock band for roots fans” he also adds these phrases…“Swampadelic”, “Service-station attendant music”, “Uneasy listening”, “Psychobilly”

Psychobilly….Now that is a cool description.

By 1991 I was walking through a street fair in Nashville and there he was playing with his band. He had just put out an album called Doodad that got some local and national airplay. His music is a mixture of rock/country/rockabilly/punk and anything else he can throw in. The man has the gift of gab also.

I’ve seen him a couple of times in the 90s and he can bring the house down. He did get some MTV and VHI play nationally in 1991-92.  His other known songs are my favorite “Meet Your New Landlord,” Poolside,  and “Human Cannonball”. He has had some great backing bands. He also did a great cover of Steve Earle’s The Devil’s Right Hand….

I’m including my favorite song by him called Meet Your New Landlord and of course Tough it Out.

Tough It Out

When I was in the cradle
Momma used to say “Now, baby
Don’t ya cry cry cry”
She turned on the radio
And fed me rock and roll
Lullaby-by-by
Well it got under my skin
And man it pulled me in
’cause it was strong strong strong
I hit the ground runnin’
And let me tell ya somethin’
I was gone gone gone

Get offa my line
’cause I’m comin’ through
I’m aimin’ high
And I’m willin’ to shoot

I won’t bow, I won’t bend
I won’t break, I’ll tough it out
I won’t budge, I won’t deal
I won’t change, I’ll tough it out
(Tough it out) Keep rockin’ (tough it out) No stoppin’
‘Til I win the prize, I’ll tough it out
(Tough it out) Straight ahead (tough it out) knock ’em dead
No compromise, I’ll tough it out

Now I’ve got somethin’
For ever man woman
And child child child
We don’t leave the hall
’til they’re bouncin’ off the walls
Goin’ wild wild wild
It might happen any day
Might be light years away
I don’t mind mind mind
We got our head down, ears back
Headed for the barn
Feelin’ fine fine fine

Get offa my line
’cause I’m comin’ through
I’m aimin’ high
And I’m willin’ to shoot

I won’t bow, I won’t bend
I won’t break, I’ll tough it out
I won’t budge, I won’t deal
I won’t change, I’ll tough it out
(Tough it out) Keep rockin’ (tough it out) No stoppin’
‘Til I win the prize, I’ll tough it out
(Tough it out) Straight ahead (tough it out) knock ’em dead
No compromise, I’ll tough it out(Tough it out) (tough it out)

You might catch me down
But I won’t stay caught
Now I might not sell
But I can’t be bought

I won’t bow, I won’t bend
I won’t break, I’ll tough it out
I won’t budge, I won’t deal
I won’t change, I’ll tough it out
(Tough it out) Keep Rockin’ (tough it out) No stoppin’
‘Til I win the prize, I’ll tough it out
(Tough it out) Straight ahead (tough it out) knock ’em dead
No compromise, I’ll tough it out

I won’t bow, I won’t bend
I won’t break, I’ll tough it out
I won’t budge, I won’t deal
I won’t change, I’ll tough it out
Tough it out
‘Til I win the prize, I’ll tough it out
Tough it out
No compromise, I’ll tough it out

Steve Earle – The Devil’s Right Hand

The first time I heard this song I was actually playing it on guitar. A buddy of mine started to play it in the late eighties and I started to follow him with the chords. I asked him where he heard it and he played me the Copperhead Road album. This one became one of my favorites off of the album.

It’s a great piece of songwriting.

The Copperhead Road album peaked at #56 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1989… which is hard to believe it wasn’t higher than that. It did peak at #7 in the Country Billboard Chart in 1989.

It’s a great song that has been covered by many artists including Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and the Highwaymen.

From Songfacts

Songwriter Steve Earle is well known as a vocal opponent of capital punishment; running to 3 minutes 1 second, this classic miniature has a message for those who are likely to end up facing it; an attack on what Louis Farrakhan called “the glorification of the gun,” it makes the point that though a gun can get you into a lot of trouble, it can’t get you out of it.

In the song, the unfortunate storyteller fails to heed his mother’s warnings about carrying a pistol, and his youthful fascination ends with him shooting a man dead after being cheated at cards. When the authorities come for him, he protests they have the wrong man because “nothing touched the trigger but the Devil’s right hand”, which in the 21st Century would amount to an insanity defense, but would have probably not have swayed a jury in late 19th Century America wherein this cameo is set. 

Waylon Jennings released this song before Earle did – he included it on his 1986 album Will the Wolf Survive. Jennings and Earle were good friends and kindred spirits; during one of Earle’s stints in prison, Jennings wore a bandana in his honor (Earle wears a bandana on his right wrist). 

The Devil’s Right Hand

About the time that Daddy left to fight the big war
I saw my first pistol in the general store
In the general store, when I was thirteen
I thought it was the finest thing I ever had seen

So l asked if I could have one someday when I grew up
Mama dropped a dozen eggs, she really blew up
She really blew up, and she didn’t understand
Mama said the pistol is the devil’s right hand

The devil’s right hand, the devil’s right hand
Mama says the pistol is the devil’s right hand

Me very first pistol was a cap and ball Colt
Shoots as fast as lightnin’ but it loads a mite slow
It loads a mite slow, and soon I found out
It’ll get you into trouble but it can’t get you out

So about a year later I bought a Colt 45
Called a peacemaker but I never knew why
I never knew why, I didn’t understand
Mama says the pistol is the devil’s right hand

The devil’s right hand, the devil’s right hand
Mama says the pistol is the devil’s right hand

Got into a card game in a company town
I caught a miner cheating, I shot the dog down
I shot the dog down, I watched the man fall
He never touched his holster, never had a chance to draw

The trial was in the morning and they drug me out of bed
Asked me how I pleaded, not guilty I said
Not guilty I said, you’ve got the wrong man
Nothing touched the trigger but the devil’s right hand

The devil’s right hand, the devil’s right hand
Mama says the pistol is the devil’s right hand

The devil’s right hand, the devil’s right hand
Mama says the pistol is the devil’s right hand

Steve Earle – Copperhead Road

Brilliant song by Steve Earle. I became a fan of  Steve Earle when I heard “I Aint Never Satisified” off of the Exit 0 album. Copperhead Road was an actual road near Mountain City, Tennessee. It has since been renamed Copperhead Hollow Road, owing to the theft of road signs bearing the song’s name.

What is interesting is Earle tells a story of three generations, of three different eras, and shows how they intersect all in one song.

This song peaked at #10 in the Billboard Mainstream Charts, #45 in the UK, and #12 in Canada in 1988.

Earle himself called the album the world’s first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass.

When you wrote things like “Copperhead Road,” did you know you had something that would be a signature song?

Steve Earle: Yeah. I did. That song I did. “Guitar Town,” I didn’t. I just thought I was writing a song that was going to open my tour and open my record, because I’d seen Springsteen come out and open the show with “Born in the U.S.A.” on that tour. That’s really when I started writing that album, the day after I saw that tour. But it had such a utilitarian reason to exist for me that I thought that was it. So I was shocked when they made it a single and shocked when it was a hit. But “Copperhead” I knew.

 

From Songfacts

Copperhead Road is a real road in East Tennessee where moonshine was made and two generations later, marijuana was grown. The song tells the story of a soldier who returns home from Vietnam and starts trafficking marijuana.

Copperhead Road is a highly acclaimed album that came after an interesting year for Earle: he spent New Year’s Day of 1988 in a Dallas jail charged with assaulting a policeman, had to deal with various legal and business issues, and at one point had a message on his answering machine that said, “This is Steve. I’m probably out shooting heroin, chasing 13-year-olds and beatin’ up cops. But I’m old and I tire easily, so leave a message and I’ll get back to you.” He also married his fifth wife around the time the album was released.

Along with “Guitar Town,” this is one of Earle’s signature songs. When he wrote it, he knew it would catch on. 

Copperhead Road

Well my name’s John Lee Pettimore
Same as my daddy and his daddy before
You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
He only came to town about twice a year
He’d buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line
Everybody knew that he made moonshine
Now the revenue man wanted Grandaddy bad
He headed up the holler with everything he had
It’s before my time but I’ve been told
He never came back from Copperhead Road
Now Daddy ran the whiskey in a big block Dodge
Bought it at an auction at the Mason’s Lodge
Johnson County Sheriff painted on the side
Just shot a coat of primer then he looked inside
Well him and my uncle tore that engine down
I still remember that rumblin’ sound
Well the sheriff came around in the middle of the night
Heard mama cryin’, knew something wasn’t right
He was headed down to Knoxville with the weekly load
You could smell the whiskey burnin’ down Copperhead Road

I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
They draft the white trash first,’round here anyway
I done two tours of duty in Vietnam
And I came home with a brand new plan
I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road
Well the D.E.A.’s got a chopper in the air
I wake up screaming like I’m back over there
I learned a thing or two from ol’ Charlie don’t you know
You better stay away from Copperhead Road

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road

 

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.

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. The 80s were not my favorite musical decade but Steve Earle was one of the highlights for me.

Steve is a very underrated American songwriter.

The song made it to #26 on the Billboard charts in 1987. The album Exit 0 made it to #15 on the charts.

I Ain’t Ever Satisfied