Thursday, November 17, 2005
That, to your left, is not Ernest Tubb by the way. But this post is.
A few years ago, one of my favorite bands back in Denver featured a picture of Ernest Tubb on the entire front of the bass drum. Just a black and white "howdy folks" kind of picture, and it was funny and apt. While the names Lefty, Hank, George, Merle, Willie, Johnny, and Jimmie often get passed around as the deities of Country and Western, you don't hear so much the name Ernest. Maybe it's the name itself...not a very cool name nowadays. It's a little embarrassing to say out loud, makes one think of a great uncle who was a little special, or something (like Merle's a real hip name). Maybe Ernest didn't have that rebel personality we like to associate with real Country. So far as i know Tubb wasn't a drunk, didn't do jail time, didn't take the pot (sorry, Woodstock reference), didn't really invent a genre, and didn't die tragically.
Like Patsy Montana and Jimmie Rodgers, it's hard now to fully grasp how big Ernest Tubb was in his day, and all the way up through the 70's, racking up top ten hits and legions of fans. Tubb was one of the most honored and revered Country stars on the planet for almost 50 years. Many, myself included, considered Tubb the quintessential sound of country, from the spot-on arrangements and instrumental prowess, to a dead killer voice that rivals George Jones in its perfect blend of honk, yodel, and cry.
But something happened over the last 10 years or so. Tubb's name started disappearing from lists of influences. No features or career retrospective in popular country music magazines. Ernest got traded for Gram. I'm not saying he's completely disappeared. You can still hear "Walking the Floor" and "Thanks a Lot" being covered by any honkey tonk bar band worth their salt. He's still regarded highly, just not mentioned very often. Perhaps it's sour grapes on my part. Along with the Hanks (Snow, Williams, and Thompson), Tubb's on my short list. I'll ramble on about Ernest to complete strangers if given the chance. Not very successfully, it should be noted. Thanks a lot.
Cornpone vs. the big, big city.
Did I miss the mark?
Two tipplin' tunes from Tubb, then. One with a very special guest (Ernest was know for his duets). Guess who.
Ernest Tubb: Drivin' Nails in My Coffin (mp3)
Ernest Tubb w/Very Special Guest: Bartender (mp3)
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Holiday fun begins in a week and a day. First entry I know y'all gonna really like. I swear.