Which Mr. Fixit reminded me I posted as one of the reasons for this blog. The problem is I know so little about it, despite my taste for it, that I’m not sure I have much to say on the subject. At least little that won’t seem silly to people who actually know anything about the subject.
So, I’ll just post a list of the names of some of my favorites and maybe a comment or two next to the name.
Hank Williams, Sr. Like a meteor he burned brightly, but burned out too fast. Please no “Candle in the Wind” comments.
Lefty Frizzel Another pioneer of the genre who left us too early.
Ernest Tubb The first few times I heard his voice, I thought it was a joke. Then I started to actually listen. It says a lot to me that Elvis didn’t want to cover “Blue Christmas” because he thought he couldn’t do it was a Tubb did.
Jim Reeves Great voice, like silk. Should have trusted his instruments when flying as he did when singing.
Bob Wills It was his fiddle playing and ability to put a band together that made him an enduring music legend. Just about every major star has a reference to him, has covered a Wills song, or both.
Red Steagall No one else sings cowboy songs nearly as well. The fiddle playing on his songs is second to none.
Marty Robbins Country, Cowboy, Blues, Hawaiian, Honky Tonky, he sang it all in a voice that had an amazing range. It’s a shame that his music doesn’t get nearly the air time it deserves. Of all the country western singers I listen to, I think he’s the best.
Patsy Cline. A great voice, who like so many others died way to early. Not only a great singer, she paved the way for other female country singers to be the headliner, not just “plus opening act”.
Living in a part of the country where neither country music nor NASCAR were popular until they became trendy, I still hear a lot of derisive comments about country music. Not surprisingly they come from people who have never listened to country music. Or rather they have never realized that what they were listening to was country music.
Not too long ago I asked three co workers who was the bigger influence on country music Bob Wills or Patsy Cline. Two of them immediately chimed in with “Patsy Cline”. The third, not originally from around here and a country fan, looked at me and said, “Good question”. The fact is that the other two had never even heard of Wills, so they knew nothing about him or his contributions. To them I replied, “Just consider this. Bob Wills never covered a Patsy Cline song, but Patsy Cline covered some of Bob Will’s songs”.
My point, such as it is, is that if people who “hate” country music actually ever listened to it, they’d probably find some pretty familiar songs that they’ve always thought of as “rock” or “pop”. They’d also find that unlike what passes for most music written since about 1980, it doesn’t sound like a China cabinet falling over.