This Day in Music reports that today is birthday of Maria Muldaur (1943) and George Jones (1941) and the anniversary of Johnny Cash’s death (2003). In 1990, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie announced that they would leave Fleetwood Mac after the ongoing tour ended.
Check out the link for other music-related notes concerning September 12.
Above is Muldaur’s signature tune, Midnight at the Oasis.
As usual, everything I thought about a song turned out to be wrong. I’ve Been Everywhere (above) — a song that essentially is a list of cities strung together as a hitchhiker talks with a trucker who picks him up — wasn’t written by Johnny Cash. He only covered it — and so did Hank Snow.
It was written by for Australian singer with the great stage name (I hope) of Lucky Starr. The details are at the Wikipedia link above.
The song has an interesting lyric twist. The first verse of the American version, according to Wikipedia, lists these cities: Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma, Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma, Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo, Tocopilla, Barranquilla and Padilla.
The town of “Padilla” is quickly followed by an almost swallowed line: “I’m a killer.” Cash, Snow and Starr all sing it. It casts the song in a whole new light: This hitchhiker is on the run and is giving the trucker a warning. It’s a good explanation for why he has seen so many cities.
Snow was terrific. His bio starts out with what for a New Yorker — and perhaps a Brit — is a confusing paragraph:
Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow was born on May 9th, 1914 in the sleepy fishing village of Brooklyn, Queens County, on Nova Scotia’s beautiful South Shore, just down the tracks from Liverpool. (Continue Reading…)
Below is I’m Movin’ On, another important hit for Snow:
Ernest Tubb invited Hank to the Grand Ole Opry on January 7, 1950. He performed at the Opry for 46 years. His first few appearances received only luke-warm appreciation, until he wrote and recorded the song “I’m Movin’ On”, which became the top country song of 1950 and still holds the country music record for number of consecutive weeks at the number one chart position.
It’s a long time until Election Day in New York City, but clearly the best candidate is Jimmy McMillan of The Rent is Too Damn High Party.
McMillan ran in the Democratic primaries for governor in 2010 but failed, despite strong debate performances, to win the nomination. The problem was that beyond lowering the rent, his major position was to allow people to marry their shoes. It’s an interesting policy innovation, but somehow didn’t seem to directly address the serious problems facing the state.
He’s back, and his video — which seems to be loosely modeled on the training montage in Rocky — does not disappoint. It’s especially impressive considering the fact that McMillan seems to have almost no musical ability.
Beyond the comedy, McMillan is talking about the serious issue of middle class and the working poor surviving in New York City. There is a method — and a reason — to the madness.
Below is Connie Francis’ Nixon’s the One, a well done song from the 1968 campaign. It sound sums up 1960s establishment America perfectly, and the images are very interesting — though they were not compiled by a fan. Elvis and Johnny Cash make cameos.
The One on the Left is on the Right was written by Jack Clement and, according to Wikipedia, was on the album Everyone Loves a Nut.
The site has a news item today that reports the American Pop Music Hall of Fame is seeking input from the public on which group or performer should be in the inaugural class. The story the item is based on has a link to the entire list of candidates.
Paul Anka, The Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Bee Gees, Tony Bennett, Chuck Berry, Pat Boone, the Carpenters, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Chubby Checker, the Dave Clark Five, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Bobby Darin, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers, the Four Seasons, Connie Francis, Elton John, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, the Monkees, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Patti Page, Les Paul & Mary Ford, the Platters, Elvis Presley, Simon & Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Smokey & Miracles, The Supremes, Three Dog Night, Bobby Vinton, Dionne Warwick, Andy Williams, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder.
I wanted to feature one of the acts on the site in addition to the news item. So I took a pen, closed my eyes and pointed to the screen. The Everly Brothers was the closest.
The Washington Post has a positive review of La Futura, the first studio album from ZZ Top in a decade.
The review points out that the band brought in Rick Rubin to produce. Rubin started in rap but in recent years has specialized in helping artists and bands get back to basics and rediscover their cores. Johnny Cash’s late great work was done in partnership with Rubin.
The Carter family — into which Johnny Cash married — is central to the history of country music and, therefore, American music.
These two excerpts sum it up. The first, from Southern Music Network, introduces the characters:
The original Family consisted of Mother Maybelle Addington Carter (1909-1979), who played guitar and sang harmony; Sara Dougherty (1898-1979), who played autoharp and sang alto lead; and Sara’s husband, Alvin Pleasant (A.P.) Carter (d.1960), who played fiddle and sang bass.
In the second, CMT describes why they are remembered:
The most influential group in country music history, the Carter Family switched the emphasis from hillbilly instrumentals to vocals, made scores of their songs part of the standard country music canon, and made a style of guitar playing, “Carter picking,” the dominant technique for decades. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were among the first country music stars. Comprised of a gaunt, shy gospel quartet member named Alvin P. Carter and two reserved country girls — his wife, Sara, and their sister-in-law, Maybelle — the Carter Family sang a pure, simple harmony that influenced not only the numerous other family groups of the ’30s and the ’40s, but folk, bluegrass, and rock musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, the Kingston Trio, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris, to mention just a few.
The Los Angeles-based post-grunge seven-piece Flogging Molly are an interesting mix of traditional Irish music and spunky punk rock.