April 16 2021

Thanks Rusty

At the age of 75, Rusty Young, died last Wednesday, April 14. The cause of death is said to be heart failure.

Rusty Young grew up in Colorado. At the age of 6 he had already begun playing lap steel guitar. By high school, Rusty was proficient enough to teach others to play the steel and the guitar. In 2013, Young was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.

Young is best known for his association with the Americana/rock band Poco. Poco was a band formed due to the break-up of Buffalo Springfield. Poco was born in 1968. Other founding members of Poco were Richie Furay and Jim Messina, both ex members of Buffalo Springfield. As a songwriter, Young wrote the Poco songs, “Rose of Cimarron,” and “Crazy Love.”  Poco and it’s members were pioneers of the California sound which became known as “country rock.”

Country rock was popular in the 1960s and early 1970s. The pioneering musicians who began to record country flavored records had grown up listening to early country and rockabilly in the 1950’s, and were greatly influenced by the early rock & roll in the 1960’s. In some of their early recordings, The Beatles, even recorded some songs with this strong country influence. Other artists and groups in this country rock genre include The Byrds, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Grateful Dead, Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, and Poco.

These Bands and the bands who came after them into the late 70’s greatly influenced the alternative country movement. Much of the music I prefer today comes from this sub genre.

Alternative country is defined as Alternative country, or alternative country rock (sometimes alt-country, insurgent country, or Americana) is a loosely defined subgenre of country rock, which includes acts that differ significantly in style from mainstream country music, mainstream country rock, and country pop.

The term has been used to describe country music bands and artists that are also defined as or have incorporated influences from alternative rock and cowpunk, indie rock, roots rock, bluegrass, neotraditional country, punk rock, progressive country, rockabilly, punkabilly, honky-tonk, outlaw country, folk rock, indie folk, folk revival, folk punk, hard rock, R&B, heartland rock, and Southern rock.

-WIKIPEDIA

As I have mentioned before, my favorite kind of music contains those lyrics that I relate to. Of course, I have to enjoy the beat and the rhythm of the song. I like a song that allows my mind to get totally lost in it’s composition. Country Rock can usually do all of that for me.

I am thankful for pioneering musicians like Rusty Young who weren’t afraid to try something different.

Pancho.

March 18 2021

Penny Lane peaks #1 March 18,1967

Penny Lane is a street in Liverpool, England. Penny Lane was a meeting spot near Lennon’s home. Lennon would meet McCartney at Penny Lane where the two would catch a bus to head into the center of the city.

On this day, March 18, 1967 the Beatles scored there 13th #1 single in the US with “Penny Lane.”

“Penny Lane,” was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. It is a song reminiscing about the past. The two Beatles must have spent a lot of time watching and listening to the people and the sights and sounds along the path. I imagine that if the bus had arrived on time, the two who had nothing better to do then wait would miss the regulars who frequented the area.  

Here is the best interpretation of the song I could come up with

There was a barber there who kept photographs of famous people he had met.

“In Penny Lane, there is a barber showing photographs

Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know

And all the people that come and go

Stop and say hello”

The banker was somewhat of a womanizer who apparently had lots of illegitimate children.

“And the banker never wears a mac

In the pouring rain – very strange.”

In this line, the “mac” means a condom. Perhaps the banker should have worn one.

“Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout

The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray”

The nurse was supplementing her income by selling narcotics and medical morphine that she had most likely stolen.

Anyway perhaps the two Beatles were really watching the scene unfold, or even making it up as they went. I am often a people watcher. Sometimes I make up fascinating stories of who they are and what they are doing.

“Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes

There beneath the blue suburban skies

Penny Lane”

The song “Penny Lane,” is one of the Beatles best and it deserved the number one spot this day in 1967.

Pancho.

January 29 2021

For No One

I am a collector of sorts. A collector of sad songs and broken dreams. Recently on Twitter, I asked for some feedback from others as to what they thought was the saddest song ever. My goto has always been “Teddy Bear,” by Red Sovine, “Roses for Mama,” a song also recorded by Red Sovine and sometimes C.W. McCall. Other sad songs for me have been Towne’s Van Zandt’s, “Tecumseh Valley,” and Blaze Foley’s, “Clay Pigeons.” John Prine did a great cover version of the “Clay Pigeons” as well.

Another sad song that my mind often goes to Willie Nelson wrote and sings the song lyrics:

I’m writing a song all about you, A true song as real as my tears, But you’ve no need to fear it, Cause no one will hear it, Cause sad songs and waltzes aren’t selling this year.”

Sad Songs and Waltzes- Willie Nelson.

Wrecking Ball Radio turned me on to another sad song due to my Twitter post. “For No One.”

@CosmicJt23 Tweeted:

“For No One”- Beatles song, but covered by Emmylou Harris. Paul’s version is great but it’s more upbeat so you don’t notice how sad it is, but Emmylou’s version blows me away.

He was right. “For No One” was written by Paul McCartney and gives songwriting credits to John Lennon. McCartney began writing the song in a swiss chalet while on holiday with his girlfriend Jane Asher in March of 1966. The song was written about Asher who was a successful London actress. There is speculation that the song was written after an Argument involving Asher and McCartney. The pair didn’t split until 1968 two years after the song was written so the argument must not have been a deal breaker.

Paul McCartney’s original title for the tune was to be “Why Did It Die.” Alan Civil who played the French Horn on the track thought it was an orchestral piece called “For No One.” I suppose the name stuck

Emmylou Harris covered the song on her 1975 Album, Pieces of the Sky, released in 1975. Her version does seem to go much deeper with the song than the Beatles version. Emmylou’s version sounds so much more haunting and chilling than the Beatles sound.

The day breaks your mind aches

You find that all her words of kindness linger on

She no longer needs you

She wakes up she makes up

She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry

She no longer needs you.

And in her eyes you see nothing

No sign of love behind the tears

Cried for no one

A love that should have lasted years

You want her you need her

And yet you don’t believe her when she said her love is dead

You think she needs you

She goes out you stay home

She says that long ago she knew someone but now he’s gone

She doesn’t need him.

And in her eyes you see nothing

No sign of love behind the tears

Cried for no one

A love that should have lasted years

Your day breaks your mind aches

There will be time when all the things she said

Will fill your head

You won’t forget her…

Songwriters: Paul Mccartney, John Lennon

I would like to thank my Twitter friend WreckingBallRadio for the recommendation of this sad song for my collection.

Emmy’s version of “For No One” is getting lots of streams by me this week.

If you like sad songs too, The last line in the song says everything. There will be a time when all the things she said will fill your head. You won’t forget her..

Pancho.

November 2 2020

Ode to Billy Joe

Earlier today, I learned that the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame was inducting Bobbie Gentry to the Hall of Fame.

Bobbie Gentry gained international fame in 1967 after composing and recording “Ode to Billy Joe.” The song spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It earned Gentry two Grammy Awards in 1968. Awards were, Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. At the Grammy’s that year, the song was also nominated for Best Contemporary Single and for Song of The Year.

When Bobbie recorded the demo of “Ode To Billie Joe” for Capitol, she had an ambition to write songs to sell to other artists. She only sang the song herself on her demo,  because, she said it was cheaper than hiring someone else to sing it.

Capitol Recording Studio (Hollywood) chose to release Bobbie Gentry’s version of the song. Gentry signed to Capitol on June 23,1967. The single was released July 10, 1967.

Rolling Stone lists “Ode to Billy Joe” among it’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Following the single’s success, an album was quickly put together. On August 21 Ode to Billie Joe overcame the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, topping the Billboard 200.

We still don’t know what she threw off of the bridge that day. Bobbie Gentry states, “That doesn’t matter.”

In 1969 Bobbie Gentry would write and record “Fancy.”

“Fancy” is my strongest statement for women’s lib, if you really listen to it. I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all of the serious issues that they stand for- equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights.”

Bobbie Gentry

Fancy” released November 3, 1969. (As I am writing this, the song released 51 years ago as of tomorrow.)

In April of 1970, Capitol would release the album Fancy. Most of the album was recorded at Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The Album consisted of cover songs other than the title track. Fancy, was produced by Rick Hall.

The album peaked at number 37 in the US Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The song “Fancy” reached number 8 on the Billboard Top 40.

In 1991 MCA would release Reba McEntire’s version of “Fancy.” Her recording would also reach #8 on the Billboard Country chart.

Reba, who had wanted to record the song since 1984 refers to it as her “possible signature hit.”

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that Reba wrote the song “Fancy.” It fits her persona so well. She performs the song to perfection and has definitely made it her own.

Because of the current health climate, the honors ceremony for this years Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame has been postponed until November 2021.

Other 2020 inductees are Steve Earle, Kent Blazy, and Brett James. All of these artists including Bobbie Gentry experienced their first Top 20 song at least 20 years ago. Hall of Fame Songwriters were selected by their professional songwriting peers.

Congratulations To All of You!

Pancho.