Best early country songs – up to 1955

 

In this spirit-numbing information age, we gorge on the web and on CNN, we cannot free our hands of our Blackberrys and lap-tops and cellphones, but, in the end, we know less and less … of each other … of our hearts … of our souls.
But Johnny Cash singing “I Walk The Line” or Hank sorrowing through “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” still gives us more insight in three minutes, tells us more about what matters most in our lives, than we get in an entire twenty-four-hour news cycle.
Dana Jennings, in his magnificent book “Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death, and Country Music

This is our first article in a series highlighting the best country songs. We start off by nominating songs from the start up till 1955. The next post will focus on songs from 1956-1965.

When we are through nominating songs.. probably around 70-80 songs.. we will pull it all together and put a list of the 20 best Country songs ever.. in JV’s humble opinion.

Our goal is to only nominate one song from each artist.. I’ve managed to do so on this first article (although it was tough only including one Hank Williams song….)

… and btw .. the songs are presented in random order…

 

Can The Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye), The Carter Family

Produced by Art Satherley
Written by A.P. Carter
1935

Continue reading Best early country songs – up to 1955

Video premiere: Clementine by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

photo: Pegi Young

Via Spinner.com:

For Americana, Neil Young’s first album with the band Crazy Horse in nearly nine years, the singer-songwriter revisits classic American folk songs and delivers the tunes, which encompass familiar protest songs, murder ballads and campfire songs, with electrifying ferocity. In spite of — or perhaps because of the approach, the universal appeal of the songs is neither lost nor diminished and they retain their relevance in these challenging times.

Wikipedia says of the history of the song:

The words are those of a bereaved lover singing about his darling, the daughter of a miner in the 1849 California Gold Rush. He loses her in a drowning accident, though he consoles himself towards the end of the song with Clementine’s “little sister”.

The verse about the little sister was often left out of folk song books intended for children, presumably because it seemed morally questionable.
Another theory is that the song is from the view of Clementine’s father, and not a lover.

Gerald Brenan attributes the melody to originally being an old Spanish ballad in his book South from Granada. It was made popular by Mexican miners during the Gold Rush. It was also given various English texts. No particular source is cited to verify that the song he used to hear in the 1920s in a remote Spanish village was not an old text with new music, but Brenan states in his preface that all facts mentioned in the book have been checked reasonably well. The song is using the melody placed on Romances, in particular the one of Romance del Conde Olinos o Niño, a sad love story very popular in the Spanish folk some of which were compiled at the court of Alfonso X and others like the Cancionero de Uppsala later by the House of Trastamara.

It is unclear when, where and by whom the song was first recorded in English for others to hear.

The video for “Clementine” as for all of the clips produced for Americana  is authentic found footage, adding a unique visual element to a project steeped in America’s rich, lyrical history.

Clementine:

Neil Young:

“The Americana arrangement extends the folk process using many of the original words and a new melody. The song tells the story of either a bereaved lover recalling his lost sweetheart, or a father missing his lost daughter. In both cases the daughter has drowned in an accident. The verse about Clementine’s sister has been omitted from most children’s versions. This verse has different meanings depending on whether the point of view of the singer is taken as the lover or the father.”

– Hallgeir

Today: The late Big Joe Turner was born in 1911 – 101 years ago

From Wikipedia:

Big Joe Turner (born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr., May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985) was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri. According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.” Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll“, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s. Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Tributes:

The late The New York Times music critic Robert Palmer, said: “…his voice, pushing like a Count Basie solo, rich and grainy as a section of saxophones, which dominated the room with the sheer sumptuousness of its sound.”

In announcing Turner’s death in their December 1985 edition, the British music magazine, NME, described Turner as “the grandfather of rock and roll.”

Songwriter Dave Alvin wrote a song about an evening that he spent with Turner titled “Boss Of The Blues”. It was on his 2009 release, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women.

Other May-18:

Continue reading Today: The late Big Joe Turner was born in 1911 – 101 years ago

Today: Bob Dylan played his legendary Manchester concert in 1966 – 46 years ago

Yesterday the greatest studio album ever released celebrated it’s 46th birthday… and today the greatest rock concert ever performed celebrates it’s 46th birthday… should be easy for Dylan people to remember 🙂

This was the first bootleg concert I ever heard.. and it’s still my fav one.

Here is my top 5 concerts:

  1. Bob Dylan & The Hawks – Manchester – 17.05.1966
  2. Bruce Springsteen – Passaic, New Jersey – 19.09.1978
  3. Bob Dylan – Fort Collins, Colorado – 23.05.1976
  4. The Rolling Stones – Brussels – 17.10.1973
  5. Bruce Springsteen – Brixton Academy, London – 24.04.1996
Top 2 is “locked” forever… the others are movable.
Maybe we should make a list of Dylan’s 10 greatest concerts… nice idea….indeed
Setlist:

1. She Belongs To Me
2. Fourth Time Around
3. Visions Of Johanna
4. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
5. Desolation Row
6. Just Like A Woman
7. Mr. Tambourine Man

8. Tell Me, Momma
9. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
10. Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Eric von Schmidt)
11. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
12. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
13. One Too Many Mornings
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man
15. Like A Rolling Stone

The facts from Wikipedia:

Released October 13, 1998
Recorded May 17, 1966
Genre Rock, folk rock, blues rock
Length 95:18
Label Columbia
Producer Jeff Rosen

Live 1966: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert is a two-disc live album by Bob Dylan, released in 1998. Recorded at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall. It is from Dylan’s famous world tour in 1966, having been extensively bootlegged for decades, and is an important document in the development of popular music during the 1960s.

The setlist consisted of two parts, with the first half of the concert being Dylan alone on stage performing an entirely acoustic set of songs, while the second half of the concert has Dylan playing an “electric” set of songs alongside his band The Hawks. The first half of the concert was greeted warmly by the audience, while the second half was highly criticized, with heckling going on before and after each song.

“I don’t believe you”:

Today’s mandatory playlist:

Other May-17:

Continue reading Today: Bob Dylan played his legendary Manchester concert in 1966 – 46 years ago

Doug Dillard bluegrass legend dies at 75

Doug Dillard (born March 6, 1937, died May 16, 2012), brother of Rodney Dillard and a band member of The Dillards, was the banjo-playing brother of the The Darling Boys on The Andy Griffith Show. He appeared in the films The Rose and Popeye and in the TV movie Return to Mayberry. He also wrote the songs “Doug’s Tune” and “Banjo in the Hollow”.

Hickory Holler:

Duelin Banjos:

From AOL music:

By Stephen L. Betts

Banjo player and TV performer Doug Dillard, who gained fame for his appearances on “The Andy Griffith Show” with musical group the Dillards (known on the TV series as the “Darlings”) has died following a lengthy illness. A family spokesperson tells The Boot that Dillard was taken to a Nashville emergency room on Wednesday night (May 16) and died shortly thereafter.

Doug Dillard was born in Salem, Mo., in 1937 and was playing guitar by age 5. He received his first banjo as a teenager and soon began performing with various bands on radio and TV. He had been encouraged to pursue his instrument by banjo legend Earl Scruggs. According to his official bio, at 16, Dillard wrote a letter to Scruggs and received a positive reply. He then pestered his parents into driving him to Scruggs’ home in Madison, Tenn., some five hundred miles away from Salem. Doug brazenly walked up to the front door and rang the bell, introducing himself and asking the iconic banjo picker to install Scruggs’ tuners on his banjo.

Along with his brother Rodney, Doug soon formed the Dillards. Their folk-bluegrass blend became popular on college campuses and elsewhere, which led to their move to California and resulted in a recording contract and their stint on the hit CBS series starring Andy Griffith. After parting ways with the Dillards, Doug joined folk-rock group the Byrds on their first European tour. After the tour, Doug teamed up with former Byrds member Gene Clark, forming the influential Dillard & Clark, one of the first acts to popularize the country-rock sound that would include other artists such as Gram Parsons and the musicians who would later form the Eagles. Comedian and banjo player Steve Martin recently told The Boot that Doug Dillard was among the first influences on his banjo playing.

For me he always  will be remembered especially for his collaborations with Gene Clark.
Why not your baby(audio):

Train Leaves Here This Morning & This Plan (audio):

Rest in peace Doug Dillard.

– Hallgeir

Focusing on Bob Dylan & related music