Monday, May 11, 2015

Music Monday ~ "This country's bigger than Texas"

In the UK, in the 1990s I became interested in country music. Back then country music there was a scarce commodity, known to few. In those days, before I owned a computer, I got my information from a monthly country music magazine; I'd search high and low for records and buy a few "bootleg" tapes someone acquired, recorded foggily from American TV shows. BBC radio programmes would occasionally feature a popular country-ish record, a rare treat.

The song title from which this post's heading comes is a little-known number sung by Gene Watson. Embedding has been disabled for the video, but here's a link.
The lyrics tell how country music has no boundaries - an apt thought for this post.

Over several years I managed to familiarise myself with a bunch of American singers nobody I knew had ever even heard of. Heck, back then in England few had even heard of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings! Willie Nelson? Yep, some had heard of him!

Within the songs I grew to love, were words in the lyrics I couldn't quite understand. I guessed from context, but was never confident I had guessed correctly. So, for Music Monday today, three of those songs, with notes of the words that used to make me wonder.

Six Days on the Road - Dave Dudley

My wonderings:
What is Georgia overdrive? I've discovered the answer to this one while preparing the post!
"Georgia Overdrive" is truck driver slang for placing your trucks transmission in neutral at the top of a large hill. Then you allow the truck to coast down the hill. Gravity pulls the truck faster and faster, the truck will continue to build speed until the the truck reaches the bottom of the hill. This is a dangerous practice. (See HERE)

And what about
I just passed a 'Jimmy' and a 'White'

Husband enlightened me that these are two brands of big trucks: "Jimmy" is slang for GMC (General Motor Corporation).

I.C.C. is checking on down the line - I gathered that his must be some authority figure, and discovered it stands for Interstate Commerce Commission, the federal authority regulating transport companies who do business across different state lines.

Georgia in a Jug - Johnny Paycheck

First line:
Mason jar on the dresser filled with dollars and quarters

I didn't know what a Mason jar was - now I do! And "jug", for me meant a ceramic vessel for holding milk to put in my cup of tea. I know better now.

Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell

In spite of the context ("I hear you singin' in the wire, I can hear you through the whine") I originally had a vision of a railway line repair man. Electricity linemen are not as common a sight in Britain, where most power lines are buried rather than strung across the land.


mike said...

There are some cross-over songs I've enjoyed over the years, but country isn't a genre I appreciate or follow. The similes and metaphors in country are usually inferentially coarse, over-the-top, and melodramatic. But hey, I like 100% whole wheat bread and most folk eat lily-white.

"Jimmy Buffett, although not technically a country singer despite his hits “Margarittaville” and “Its Five O’clock Somewhere” with Alan Jackson, deserves some recognition for some of the stranger song titles; for example; ”If The Phone Doesn’t Ring (It’s Me Not Calling You)”. He also recorded “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink And I Don’t Love Jesus” and “Why Don’t We Get Drunk And Screw.”

Some songs are just plain weird . . . and mean. One such entry was, “Mama Get the Hammer, There’s A Fly On Papa’s Head.” Then, there’s the cover of that same song, a parody called, “Get The Hammer Mama, There’s A Head On Papa’s Fly”.

If you’re a true aficionado of country music, you’ll know that men and women don’t always react the same way to being dumped. Men often get bitter; “If You Want To Keep The Beer Cold (Put it Next To My Ex-wife’s Heart).” or “I'm So Miserable Without You, It's Like Having You Here” Or, how about, “If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life (Then Number Two On You)”. Now, that’s bitter.

Some, though, are quite pleased to see their woman’s backside as she’s walking away, as in Roy Clark’s “Thank God And Greyhound She’s Gone“."

Bob said...

I think country was the first music I heard. Not listing more recent singers but there are just too many good ones.

HANK THOMPSON - Oklahoma Hills (1961), "Oklahoma Hills" is a song written by Woody Guthrie.

Woody Guthrie- This Land Is Your Land

Ernest Tubb Waltz Across Texas

Wabash Cannonball Roy Acuff with Lyrics

Don Williams - Tulsa Time 1982

Don Williams - I Believe In You

Don Williams - Lord, I hope this day is good

Twilight said...

mike ~ Well...there are some terrible country songs, I agree, a lunatic/bad taste fringe - coarse, vulgar the song writers thinking they're being witty. They were simply looking for attention (in today's online world they'd be going for what's termed "click-bait").And there are some way, way to sentimental and schmaltzy.

I've never heard any of the songs you've mentioned, which possibly proves they never got much attention in the true, classic country circles.
good for a laugh - once - that's about all.

Thinking on songs about men being dumped the first one that sprang to my mind was George Jones' "It's Been a Good Year for the Roses"

I can hardly bear the sight of lipstick on the cigarettes there in the ashtray
Lyin' cold the way you left 'em
but at least your lips caressed them while you packed
Or the lip-print on a half-filled cup of coffee that you poured and didn't drink
But at least you thought you wanted it
that's so much more than I can say for me

What a good year for the roses
Many blooms still linger there
The lawn could stand another mowin'
Funny I don't even care
As you turn to walk away
As the door behind you closes
The only thing I have to say
It's been a good year for the roses

After three full years of marriage
it's the first time that you haven't made the bed................

That's the point I fell around laughing!

From the female point of view, on losing the man in their life....let's see...oh yes a weepy, needy one from Tammy Wynette;

I'll need time to get You off my mind
And I may sometimes bother You
Try to be in touch with You
Even ask too much of You, from time to time
Now and then
Lord, You know I'll need a friend
And 'till I get used to losing You
Let me keep on using You
'Til I can make it on my own
I'll get by, but no matter how I try
There'll be times that You'll know I'll call
Chances are my tears will fall
And I'll have no pride at all, from time to time

(YUK!! Get yer big girl knickers on Tammy!)


Twilight said...

Bob ~ Now you're talkin' :-)
I love all of those old songs. Real classic country!

There have been few songs and singers emerging later than around the year 2000 that I've felt enthusiastic about. Garth Brooks is the only one among the newer "stars" I enjoy. Amazingly talented writer as well as singer and performer.

Of the older brigade, as well as Merle, Waylon, Kris, I like Gene Watson, John Conlee, Eddy Raven,
Keith Whitley, George Strait, Hank Ketchum, Kenny Rogers....what about the females? Patsy Cline is it for me, really. Never could get interested in most others.

Bob said...

Though it was rock and roll dancing that got me noticed by an ABC Paramount movie talent scout and the songs I liked to sing were by "crooners" (Bing, Frank, Dean, Elvis ballads, etc - girls and then women told me I had a good voice as recently as last year) I always liked country music but never sang it publicly.

Patsy indeed! And Hank had a talent for song writing not matched by many in that he wrote classics in just minutes.

Ray Stevens - Everything Is Beautiful

Patsy Cline // Why Can't He Be You (1962)

Twilight said...

Bob ~ While I enjoy a wide variety of music styles, and singers, Sinatra will never be knocked from the top of my pile of favourites.

I think I got into country music fandom a little late to properly appreciate Hank Williams, but do understand how iconic he is to the genre.

As for singing and dancing - I was at the back of the line when those talents were handed out, but am in awe of anyone who can do either - and even both, well! Well done you! :-)

Sonny G said...

anything garth or vince:)

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ With you on Garth, all the way. Never quite "got" Vince though, don't know why. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm ...

I was dancing, with my darling ...

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine ...

- and some Neo-Country

- If I was France would you visit?

- No, sir, these Cowboys came from space

Country music's not really my scene man, coz I'm a city boy.



Twilight said...

Anonymous/kidd ~ I like the Kenny Rogers video - hadn't seen that!

The other, "France", song and singer is...erm..."plum weird" as they'd say in Texas. ;-)

I realise that country isn't to everyone's taste. I have a love-hate relationship with it myself, mainly due to the politics of most (though not all) involved in the genre. But, there's still something about it that attracts, so I ignore the politics involved as far as poss. but cannot countenance come of the "flag-waving" songs -those about war and "our soldiers keeping us safe" etc etc.

To parody the post heading quote "this music's bigger than politics".