Monday, February 27, 2006

Bring it all Back Home

Server's working again. The George Jones songs are back up, and tomorrow's post is just about done. I'll bring the Wynonie songs back next week as an extra special secret bonus. Sorry 'bout the delay, folks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Playing Possum

I was cruising down the road on my lawnmower the other day, looking for a bottle of Jack, and wondered to myself why I hadn't done a proper raving post on old George Jones. Then I realized that, well hell, everyone knows all about George Jones. What could I possibly say about the man in a few short paragraphs that others hadn't spent whole articles and books detailing? Nothing really. Man's a legend, a bonafide living archetype. And thee golden voice of Country and Western. Figger I aint worth my salt if I don't at least give Jones a passing mention.

The list of classic Jones songs goes on and on to infinity, with big smash hits all over the damn map, and tales to tell. Here's a few swell tunes that may not fall into the top-of-the-pops chapter of Jones' life story, but I'm quite keen on them. More trash than country balladeering. "Tall Tall Trees" is a favorite no matter who does it. "Old King Kong" is, well, a classic in an alternate universe. And "Yabba Dabba Do" is the requisite drinking song, and a bit less silly than the title would suggest.

George Jones: Tall Tall Trees (mp3)

George Jones: Old King Kong (mp3)

George Jones: Yabba Dabba Do (mp3)

Thanks for considerin' buying your George Jones at your local independent record store. Gonna get Semi-regular on Friday.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Whiskey in the Well

Look, it's Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones. Nah, not really.

I've noticed an unintentional god'n'gospel-type theme running through the last few posts. Nope, I haven't been converted. Sometimes things just turn out that way. So I'm gonna take us into the weekend with a final song about a church service gone joyously off track.

Wynonie Harris is, well, he's just about the greatest thing since rye whiskey, aint he? If you don't have a little Wynonie in yr music collection, you need to remedy that situation. A blues shouter and stylist extraordinaire, Wynonie swings his ribald tales of booze, broads, and bawdiness with unparalleled joy. It's all about gettin' the action, and gettin' the party. And whether the party's in your pants, your house, or your bottle(or all three), Wynonie's your man. Fella knows about sinnin'.

And, speaking of sinning, Wynonie wants to tell you about how a church meetin' can be improved by tossin' a little something in the water supply. He also wants you to know how much he likes pudding. And, for god's sake, don't take his whiskey away. Start your weekend right with these fine selections.

Wynonie Harris: Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well (mp3)

Wynonie Harris: I Like My Baby's Puddin' (mp3)

Wynonie Harris: Don't Take My Whiskey Away From Me (mp3)

Thanks. Have a good weekend. Drink lots of water.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lonely Weekends, Muddy Waters

Slacker. That'd be me. Sorry. I'll be getting back on track shortly. Though I'm beginning to wonder... if there's too many other great blogs out there, all the good songs are already spoken for, etc. Eh.

Here's a little something from one of the hundred or so artists that comprise my top ten favorite artists list.

Though his decline into bland countrypolitan in the late 60's is well documented, Charlie Rich began his career as a crackin' good honky tonker. Versatile in infusing a range of styles (blues, jazz, gospel) into the mix, and possessing one of the great country voices (influenced by Elvis, but I'll take Rich over Elvis any day), the sides he recorded for Smash and Sun Records stand as some of the classic tonkin' singles released in the 50's and 60's.

"Lonely Weekends" is my favorite Rich tune. A hand clappin' barnburner replete with swinging country gospel choir(fans of Evelyn Freeman's "Didn't It Rain" take note).

Charlie Rich: Lonely Weekends (mp3)

Charlie Rich: I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water (mp3)

Thanks for visitin' for a spell. Check out your local, independent establishments

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Strange Revival


I'm not even going to pretend to have any kind of inside track on Fern Jones. Never heard of her 'til recently. A few intriguing reviews here and there, and I figgered I'd take a chance. Lucky me.

This is country. Jesus country. Those two words have been inextricably linked throughout the relatively short history of American music. Backwoods preachers and sawdust mandolin theologists have always vied and plucked for your soul, opining some of the most fascinating conclusions drawn from the dusty family bible (or a copy of Paradise Lost). You can't discuss the roots of country without Jesus, Satan, and sanctification getting a nod. Even sanctified sinners like Hank Williams, George Jones, and Merle Haggard have recorded gospel songs to great commercial success. Saturday night vs. Sunday morning. 'Course that god fearin'/flauntin' tension exists in most forms of secular music, with the exception of indie rock, where Western religious imagery is used ironically or as a "clever" springboard to show how knowledgeable they are about their obscure "references".

But back to the point. Fern Jones sings about Jesus. Several reviewers have drawn the line between Jones and the Louvin Brothers (particularly "Satan is Real"), which is apt. Jones and the Brothers both deal in a slightly eerie brand of tent revival theology. Both evoke the sound of country road stop offs, a meal and some preachin', a bed for the night, and back on the road, Bible in hand, to the next forgotten town. Jones should know. Her husband was a self-made pulpit man, taking their singing and sermonizing across the South.

The reissue, Glory Road , collects her lone proper album, Singing a Happy Song, plus bonus material from a privately made record. Produced by Mac Wiseman, and featuring Hank Garland and Floyd Cramer, among others, as backing musicians, the album is, pardon me, a revelation. Jones' voice is pure honky tonk angel, and the music teeters dangerously close to jukejoint rockabilly on several cuts. Notable is a guitar solo on "Strange Things..." that would make Sterling Morrison and Lee Ranaldo proud. An unearthly artifact from the so-called "old weird America", full of heaven, grace, Southern gothic theology, and the blood of Christ culled from moonshine. Jones wants to, paraphrased, save your soul and dare your spirit to move.

Fern Jones: Strange Things Happening Every Day (mp3)

Fern Jones: You Aint Got Nuthin' (mp3)

Thanks. Check out the fantastic Numero Group, the label that issued Fern Jones.

Monday, February 06, 2006


Too busy dancing around my apartment like an eejit to do a proper post. So for now, please enjoy these fine tunes.

Frankie Yankovic: Pittsburgh Steelers Fight Song Polka (mp3)

The Bettis Bus (mp3)

Big Ben (mp3)

Support your local radio jingle writers.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Jump Jack Jump

Wynonie. Wynona. Wynona. Wynonie.

Just wanted to do that. We'll get to Wynonie later. For now, we'll make way for the lady, Sister Wynona Carr.

Carr's got the sin and salvation aspect down cold. We'll focus on the carnal for today's adventure, but her career in Gospel must be noted. It was as a Gospel singer that Carr made her biggest records and achieved her (very) modest initial fame, touring with Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She was achieving slightly more recognition at this stage as a songwriter than as a performer. Pity.

Frustrated with her career, Carr turned to the sinful world of secular Rhythm and Blues. Thank god. With a voice as big and sensual as Ruth Brown and Lavern Baker, Carr nails the early stages of rock'n'roll, throwing in rockabilly and blues in equal measure. It's seminal stuff, and it swings with suggestive sexuality. Swings indeed.

Carr's been getting a good measure of reassessment in recent years, her name finally pushed higher in the pantheon of great R&B pioneers of the '40's and '50's. She's worthy. Unfortunately, ill health ended her career, and eventually her life, way too early.

The following tunes are from her Specialty Records sides, recorded approx. 1955-1959. Of particular note is my favorite, "It's Raining Outside", a raveup suggesting some fun indoor activities for a rainy day. Jump!

Wynona Carr: Jump Jack Jump (mp3)

Wynona Carr: It's Raining Outside (mp3)

Wynona Carr: Ding Dong Daddy (mp3)

Support your local house of worship...whatever that is.