Country Music

My previous post name checked two old time country singers – Marty Robbins and Don Williams. I love country music, or as it used to be called, at least some of the time, country-western music.  Another aspect of country music is bluegrass music which I don’t like particularly – too much nasal twang, gets on my nerves. New country music, not such a big fan, I don’t follow it much, occasionally trip over a song or two, I’m just not all into the whole country-bro thing (which is what I’ve read newer country music is all about. Spare me.)

The question for me is – where in the heck did I get exposed to country music? New York City is not a big country-western music town.

I took out my husband’s book “Billboard Pop Charts – 1955-1959” and checked the Top 100 for the week ending October 17, 1956 – my 10th birthday. Elvis was #1 with ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ but Johnny Cash was #37 with “I Walk the Line”.

Having taken a short break to have coffee with my husband after his post-prandial nap, we got into a big discussion about early country crossover hits, 1950’s – ’60’s television variety shows, white groups covering black groups and BOTH charting at the same time on the Top 100, and Louis Prima and Keely Smith – the original Sonny & Cher – and a whole bunch of other music stuff.

Back to country music for a moment. Marty Robbins charted on the Pop 100 in 1957 with “A White Sport Coat” at #2 and in 1959 at #1 with “El Paso”.  Patsy Cline crossed over in 1961 with “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy”.

Not wanting to fall even further down the rabbit hole of chasing down early country crossover hits, I can only say that it seems country music was all over the place even back in the 50’s, certainly by the late 1960’s when Johnny Cash had a network show – but by then I was all grown up and already a fan.

You know what’s fun, and what you younger folks probably have no idea about – is television in the late 1940’s through the 50’s. Whee-oo but it was fun. First off it was live and secondly, shows had crazy formats – there were 15 minute shows – Nat King Cole had a 15 minute show starting back in 1956. And then there were the variety shows. Y’all don’t know Garry Moore but he had a morning variety show way back in 1950, I remember that show vividly. (Yes, I grew up with tv, I was born in 1946 and I don’t remember ever NOT having a tv.)  But you know that’s a whole ‘nother post, or many, many other posts.

I will leave you with the perfect country and western song – and in case you don’t want to listen to it, I’ll put one of the verses here first that explains it all –

Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song
And he told me it was the perfect country & western song
I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was not the perfect country & western song
Because he hadn’t said anything at all about mama
Or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting’ drunk
Well, he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent it to me
And after reading it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country & western song
And I felt obliged to include it on this album
The last verse goes like this here

20 thoughts on “Country Music

  1. You are full of surprises. 💜 I grew up with Country & Western from all eras. I hated it as a teen because my parents listened to it, but I have a soft spot for Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Pam Tillis, and some Johnny Cash.

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    1. Me for Hank Williams (senior), Patsy Cline, OMG Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty – Orbison and Twitty crossed over in the late 60’s, so many…the Statler Brothers, Chet Atkins…on and on and on….

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  2. I’ve heard that song before! I had to listen to country at home and in the car with my parents. Oh how I rebelled against it! We had a stereo console back in the day to play records and 8 track tapes on and that’s what they did on the weekends. I did secretly like some of it but I never ever admitted it! When I was being an ass, which I was known to do, my dad would make me go somewhere with him and play the song Tom Dooley in the car over and over again. I hated that song so much! He still finds it amusing that he did that. I don’t.

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    1. I would not call “Tom Dooley” a country song – it was by The Kingston Trio, at least the popular version was – maybe a country singer recorded it? The Kingston Trio were kinda like folk singers…? I don’t know, they weren’t high on my listening list LOL OK, I just looked up the song – it has a long history – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Dooley_(song) It’s an Appalachian sweetheart murder ballad – LOL

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      1. I listened to The Kingston Trio’s version and that’s not the one I remember. It was one man singing and although I will forever hear that version in my head, I don’t know who it was. Now I have to get it out of my head again! Ugh!

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        1. The song has been around a long time and checking around a whole bunch of folks recorded it…so I don’t know who your guy might have been…ask your Dad.

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    1. I think that song brought line dancing to the general public even tho the Electric Slide was popular years before – one of the great laughs of my life is watching white people do the electric slide – oh so pathetic…but they can do country line dancing – I love to dance but I don’t do group dancing LOL

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  3. David Allan Coe, another good CW singer! I have long been a CW fan, but perhaps the fact that I grew up in the West has something to do with that? I even like Bluegrass, especially in that it is acoustic strings. Modern Country? Nope.

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    1. I always thought the ‘western’ part of country-western had to do with the cowboy songs and the Texas-based performers. George and I were talking about David Allen Coe and that he wasn’t a very nice person…Yeah, a lot of ‘new’ country isn’t up my alley either. The movie “Oh Brother where art thou” is heavy on the bluegrass – George really liked that movie, I asked him to watch it with headphones!

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  4. I’ve never heard that song but that last verse cracked me up. I recently read something about country music that said now that we have self driving vehicles it’s only a matter of time before someone writes a country song about his truck leaving him.

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