Saturday, September 8, 2007

I promised a set of Johnny Cash duets, and here goes. There's a lot of available stuff out there because Cash had his own TV show about 1970 or so.

"Blue Yodel No. 9," with Louis Armstrong, doing a Jimmie Rodgers song. Don't miss this one.

"City of New Orleans," with the Highwaymen. Willie Nelson handles up on lead vocals.

"I Guess Things Just Happen That Way," with Jose Feliciano, who then does "Earl's Breakdown."

"It's Too Late / Matchbox," with Derek and the Dominoes and Carl Perkins. Clapton and the band do the first song, and Cash and Perkins come out for the second. Awesome.

"Take Me Home Country Roads," with John Denver. Yep, you read that right.

"Wildwood Flower," Maybelle Carter with the Carter sisters. Cash does the introduction.

"Orange Blossom Special / Jackson," with Miss Piggy and the Muppets. Cash has fun with this one.

"It Ain't Me, Babe," with June Carter.

"Doin' My Time," with Marty Stuart.

"Girl from the North Country," with Bob Dylan.

"Ring of Fire," Ray Charles. Cash does the intro.

"Folsom Prison Blues," with the Highwaymen.

"King of the Road," with Roger Miller. Starts with about two minutes of clowning around.

"Darling Companion," with June Carter.

"Will the Circle Be Unbroken," with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and a cast of thousands.

"Only Mama That'll Walk the Line / The Shells in the Ocean," with a very young Linda Ronstadt. Cash joins in on the second song.

"Ghost Riders in the Sky," with the Muppets.

"Gentle on My Mind / Little Green Apples / Please Release Me / Born to Lose," with Cass Elliot.

"I've Been Everywhere / By the Time I Get to Phoenix / Galveston / Folsom Prison Blues / Abilene," with Glen Campbell.

"Kaw-Liga," with Hank Williams Jr.

That's twenty, and there are dozens more. I'll come back to this theme.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Pete Seeger, America's most influential folkie, has finally admitted that Stalin was not a very nice man. Remember, back during the Nazi-Soviet Pact, old Pete made a whole album of antiwar songs. Anti-World War II songs, that is, calling Roosevelt a warmonger and charging him with scheming to get us into a capitalist-imperialist war to save the British Empire. As of June 23, 1941, Pete stopped doing those tunes, for some reason, and the album was pulled.

Of course, Pete Seeger is an educated and cultured man, rather than a real hillbilly, and he was popular among the educated and cultured left. I doubt many real hillbillies knew who he was, since they were busy listening to the Hag and Buck Owens.

To Seeger's credit, he knows and loves American music and has done a lot to spread it. Also, everyone says he is a nice guy. He's really self-righteous, though, and he had never before criticized the Party until now. He has terrible judgment, both politically and morally.

A set of Pete Seeger videos:

"Where Have All the Flowers Gone," live in Stockholm in 1968.

"Guantanamera," live on TV in the late '60s. Seeger's Spanish is excellent. Note fashions worn by audience.

"Careless Love," live with Doc Watson, Clint Howard, and Fred Price.

"Solidarity Forever," with the Weavers. Recorded version with slides of old labor movement photos.

"Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," live on TV in the late '60s. This one was notoriously censored by the network when Seeger was going to sing it on the Smothers Brothers show.

Medley of American soldiers' songs, from the same TV program.

"This Land Is Your Land," with Arlo Guthrie and a full band. Live at Wolf Trap in 1978.

"So Long, It's Been Good to Know You," with the Weavers in the early '50s.

"Bring 'Em Home," live during the Vietnam era. Very misguided politically, of course.

"Ramblin' Boy," with Tom Paxton. Live on TV in 1965.

"I Am Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes," with June Carter on lead vocals and Johnny Cash, from a late-'60s TV show called Rainbow Quest.

"As Long as the Grass Shall Grow," with Johnny Cash on lead vocals and June Carter. From Rainbow Quest.

"Turn, Turn, Turn," with Judy Collins on lead vocals. From Rainbow Quest.

There are lots of clips on YouTube from the Rainbow Quest show that are well worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Johnny Cash is probably my favorite American musician of all time. Without further ado, here's a long Johnny Cash set.

"Big River," from a 1958 TV show.

"Man in Black," from a 1971 TV show. Includes 30-second Merle Haggard comment.

"A Boy Named Sue," live at San Quentin in 1969.

"Folsom Prison Blues," live on TV in 1959. Mediocre sound, but dig the '50s local-TV aesthetics.

"Sunday Morning Coming Down," from a 1970 TV show. Very Nashvilley.

"Ring of Fire," from German TV circa 1982. Cash is paunchy and there's a synthesizer in the backup band, but it still rocks.

"Bonanza / Five Feet High and Rising," two different clips from late-'50s local TV spliced together.

"I Walk the Line," live on local TV in 1959.

"Jackson," duet with June Carter. Note Carter Administration aesthetics (Jimmy, not Maybelle).

"I Got Stripes," live on local TV in 1959. Note the fashions of the times in the crowd shots. Begins with two-minute intro of the band. This is one of the lesser-known early Cash songs.

"Ghost Riders in the Sky," in concert in the late '70s or so.

"Get Rhythm," live on late-'50s local TV.

There's so much Johnny Cash stuff on YouTube that I can't fit it all into one set. I'll post another set of Cash duets tomorrow or when I can.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My reaction to Hayseed Dixie: The first time I heard them, I thought they were hilarious. The second time, I noticed they were really a pretty good bluegrass band. The third time, I started to get a little tired of the whole thing. Nonetheless, check these videos out. Here's their website.

"Highway to Hell," promotional videoclip.

"Walk This Way," promotional videoclip.

"Ace of Spades," live on some British TV show.

"Holidays in the Sun," promotional videoclip. I like the way they did this one.

"You Shook Me All Night Long," the Hayseed Dixie version synched to the original AC/DC video.

"She Was Skinny When I Met Her," promo videoclip for a Hayseed Dixie original, which is really not very good at all. Unfunny and obvious. Stick to the cover versions, fellas.

"War Pigs," live. Either it's a good camera-phone recording or a bad semi-professional job.

"Fat Bottomed Girls," good camera-phone recording live in Lincoln. The one in England, not the one in Nebraska.

"Black Dog," live in Liverpool. OK camera-phone recording, decent sound, lousy visually.

There are a whole lot of bad camera-phone recordings of Hayseed Dixie shows in England, which you can check out on YouTube if you're a big fan.
Junior Brown kicks ass. He does good songs, he has one of those deep country voices, and he's a virtuoso on his guitar, which he designed himself. Here's his website. And here's a set of Junior's songs, all videos from YouTube. By the way, the woman playing acoustic guitar is his wife.

"Highway Patrol," promotional video.

"I Hung It Up," live. Great phrasal verb exercise for English class, by the way. These next few were all from what looks like Austin City Limits, and were posted by the same guy, named ApeHouse.

"Free Born Man," live.

"Broke Down South of Dallas," live.

"Party Lights," live.

"Girl from Oklahoma," live.

"Sugarfoot Rag," live eight-minute extended guitar jam.

Surf instrumental. I recognize the song, but just can't think of the name.

"409," a recording session with the Beach Boys.

"Folsom Prison Blues," good camera-phone recording. Junior improvises the words and the crowd sings along. Great fun.

"My Wife Thinks You're Dead," good camera-phone recording from April 2007, posted by a guy called trainarollin. This one is probably Junior's bess-known song.

"Long Walk Back to San Antone," from the same show.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Time for a set of videos from classic Seventies country acts.

Hank Williams Jr.: "A Country Boy Can Survive," live.

David Allan Coe: "You Never Even Called Me By My Name," live in Austin in 1983.

Waylon Jennings: "Luckenbach, Texas," live.

Jerry Jeff Walker: "LA Freeway," live in Austin in 1984.

Guy Clark: "Dublin Blues," with Karen Matheson.

Townes Van Zandt: "Pancho and Lefty," live on TV in 1993.

Merle Haggard: "Okie from Muskogee," 1969 TV show. Note hound dog. Watch till the very end.

David Allan Coe: "If That Ain't Country," with completely different words. Live at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth.

Willie Nelson, "Always on My Mind," live in 1982.

George Jones: "He Stopped Loving Her Today," live.

The Highwaymen (Jennings, Nelson, Cash, Kristofferson): "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," live.

Jerry Jeff Walker and Ray Wylie Hubbard, along with a bunch of stoned hippies: "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother," live at Willie Nelson's picnic in 1974. Not great sound, but obviously great fun.

George Jones, "If Drinking Don't Kill Me," live on an awards show in 1982.

Guy Clark, "Magdalene," live at UT-Austin in 2007.

Merle Haggard with Johnny Cash, "Sing Me Back Home," from Cash's TV show in 1969.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Four music links from Arts and Letters Daily: a piece saying that there is no longer a popular music mass audience, another one blasting boring, pompous Bono and his inauthenticity, one on the durability of Goths (whose music I just cannot stand), and a review of a book whose thesis is that all performed music is by definition inauthentic.

My definition of "authenticity" in music: if you're doing it because you like it and it's what you want to do, it's authentic. If you're doing it just to make a buck, then it isn't. Pretending to be someone you aren't doesn't necessarily make you a phony; look at Bob Dylan, for example, who clearly loves all American music and whose lyrics are an honest attempt at meaning something. Yeah, when he was a kid he pretended to be a "real folkie" like Woody Guthrie, who of course wasn't a "real folkie" either, but that's a pecadillo compared to what Dylan's accomplished in his career.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Taj Mahal, a New York blues-country-jazz guy, is playing on the steps of the cathedral in Girona tomorrow night. I can't go, but I recommend that all the rest of you do. Here's a link to Taj's website, where you can hear all of his latest CD, and here are some Taj songs, all videos off YouTube:

"Linda Lu," live.

"Mailbox Blues," live.

"Fishin' Blues," live on a TV show. This one was on the third Let the Circle Be Unbroken CD.

"Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes," live at the Blue Note. Pretty good camera-phone recording.

"The Bourgeois Blues," an old Leadbelly song, live on some TV show.

"Sweet Mamma Janisse," Taj on TV back in 1971. Sound is good, film is bad.

"Tomorrow Might Not Be Your Day," another old appearance live on a TV show.
Let's start this website off with a real hard country set. All links are to YouTube videos, and they all have good sound. Check them all out.

Robert Earl Keen: "Shades of Gray," live on Austin City Limits.

Steve Earle: "Copperhead Road," official videoclip. Just in case you've never heard it.

Jack Ingram: "Mustang Burn," live on some TV show.

Junior Brown: "My Wife Thinks You're Dead," live on Austin City Limits.

The Derailers: "Bar Exam," official videoclip.

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez: "Keep Your Hat On Jenny," live.

Jason Boland: "My Baby Loves Me When I'm Stoned," official videoclip.

Ray Wylie Hubbard: "Snake Farm," official videoclip.

Cory Morrow: "Live Forever," live in Austin.

Bottle Rockets: "Indianapolis," live in Germany.

Billy Joe Shaver, "Old Chunk of Coal," live.

Joe Ely: "Gallo del Cielo," live in Edinburgh.

Reckless Kelly: "Wicked Twisted Road," live.

John Hiatt: "Tennessee Plates," live unplugged.

BR-549: "Too Lazy to Work, Too Nervous to Steal," official videoclip.

Del McCoury Band: "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," live at the Ryman in Nashville. Just in case you hadn't heard this one, either.

Steve Earle, "Dixieland," solo live at an antiwar protest in Washington. Includes two-minute political rant. Good camera-phone recording.

Robert Earl Keen: "Amarillo Highway," live at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.