May 23 2021

It’s Never too Late to get into God and George Strait

One debate on social media lately has been: Is George Strait really the King of Country? The reasoning behind the debate is simply because King George didn’t write his own songs. The man has multiple hits under his belt and a discography that can go on for days and he hasn’t ever put his pencil to paper and told his own story. The facts are this, without Dean Dillon, George would still be playing cover songs in some dance hall. Not saying this is a bad thing. I mean making a living by playing music is the point right?

This morning, I was actually swayed to the belief that the musician that was playing the songs he never wrote might just be as important as the songwriter when I saw a Twitter Post reading:

Weighing in on the George Strait semi-controversy…I’m an ok-at-best vocalist with little desire to live on the road & a probably-not-marketable look but I dig writing songs and write good ones sometimes. If anything I wish there were more Straits to take that shit to market.

Via Twitter from @MikeEthanTX

Jared LoStracco retweeted and gave his endorsement so there is that.

I mean as bad as I hate to admit it, Willie by God Nelson didn’t write alot of his own hit stuff either. So there I said it…

Or perhaps Mike’s Twitter post about George coupled with Rich O’Toole’s share on Twitter of his song “God and George Strait” changed my heart. I mean it is Sunday, My Sabbath day and I am in a spiritual place this morning, especially after hearing Rich’s song.

I hope that someday I can put my pencil to paper and write a song that someone wishes to sing. I would love to hear my words on the radio and to see my name given songwriting credit. It just might be okay if King George were the voice behind the words..

Pancho.

March 26 2021

Mountain Musing

Last weekend I was able to spend some time on a mountain retreat with 3 of the men I trust most in this world. Overall, I feel that the weekend was a much-needed break from the stress and struggles of the real world.

Topics of the weekend conversation of course included music. KD feels that Willie Nelson has a whiny voice. He also stated that Willie and Merle’s version of “Pancho and Lefty” was better than that of Townes Van Zandt. Of course, I totally disagreed with both of those statements. One Willie’s voice is nasally not whiny, but that is what makes him Willie. Secondly, I usually almost always defer back to the original version of a song as the best… Especially if that original version happens to be written by Townes Van Zandt. I have said it a dozen times, and I will say it again. Townes Van Zandt singing “Pancho and Lefty” is the best, hands down, no argument.

All of this came from a guy who wants the Joe Diffie song, “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox” played at his funeral. KD’s taste in music isn’t all bad, I will say that he does like George Strait and he thinks Guns n Roses is still a bad ass band. As for me the Townes version of “Dead Flowers” shall be my funeral march.

I did have to explain to the group about Dean Dillon. Without Dean Dillon, George Strait would not be the king he is today. This might be the exception to my above mentioned rule. The one about deferring to the original artist. For example, “The Chair.” Written by Dean Dillon and Hank Cochran on some boat out in the Bahamas. George Straits version of that song is the best, hands down, no argument.

“The Chair” is a song written by Hank Cochran and Dean Dillon and recorded by American country music artist George Strait. It was released in August 1985 as the first single from Strait’s album Something Special”- WIKIPEDIA

IF there had been no Townes Van Zandt, then there would have been no Pancho and Lefty. HAD there been no Dean Dillon, George Strait would not be the King of Country Music.

Hank Cochran came up with one of the greatest lines ever in a country song in “The Chair.” Willie Nelson composed the guitar rift in the final line.

According to Cochran:

“Willie won’t mind”

Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran actually convinced the record label he was working for to sign Willie Nelson, which gave him his start in Country music. Of course when Hank borrowed a few chords, Willie didn’t mind.

In the words of the great Hank Cochran from the song lyrics of “The Chair.”

 Well thank you, could I drink you a buy?

Oh listen to me, what I mean is can I buy you a drink?

Anything you please.

Pancho.

November 15 2020

The Midnight Cowboy

Bill Mack “The Midnight Cowboy” died due to complications of Covid-19 July 31,2020.  The radio DJ/ songwriter was 91.

Mack was born in Sherman, Texas June 4, 1929. He is best known in country music for writing the songs, “Blue,” and “Drinking Champagne.”

Bill Mack worked overnights in Ft. Worth, Texas as a radio host for many years at WBAP. Beginning in 1969, his show was called The Country Roads Show. Many sleepy-eyed truckers who were traveling during late night hours would tune in to the show as they were traveling across the Lone Star State and beyond. WBAP-AM could be heard across about half of the country. Bill earned the moniker of “The Midnight Cowboy” from one of the overnight listeners. He later renamed his show that. In more recent years, Bill’s distinctive voice could be heard on XM radio channel 171. He was a radio host on the “Open Road” channel.

Blue” was written and recorded by Bill in 1958. He first pitched the song to Patsy Cline at a show in San Antonio, Texas. He had a demo tape made with a girl in San Antonio who “sounded like Patsy.” He sent the song to Patsy in hopes of her recording it. Unfortunately, she died in a plane crash before being able to record the song.

Mack composed the song within 15 minutes. His wife at the time told him it was the best song that he had ever written.

“ I had no idea what would happen forty years later”

Bill Mack

The song which had sat in a semi dormant state re-surfaced on June 4th 1996. LeAnn Rimes was only 13 years old when she recorded it for her debut album.

The song earned LeAnn Rimes a Grammy for Country Song of the Year.

“I am for ever grateful for him. (Bill Mack) and the music he created.”

LeAnn Rimes

“We will be ‘Blue’ without you Bill.”

LeAnn Rimes- Reposted from her Twitter Account.

Drinking Champagne,” released in the mid-sixties. The song first gained national attention after reaching the country charts in 1968. The Single recorded by Cal Smith reached #35 in 1968.

Artists like Faron Young, Ray Price, Dean Martin, and Willie Nelson would also release versions of the song.

In 1990 George Strait took “Drinking Champagne” to #4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Strait’s version was the second single from his album Livin’ it Up.

Bill Mack said that the words of the song just sort of came to him. It was easy for him to write the song he said.

Mack was inducted into the Texas Country music Hall of Fame in 1999.

The world will miss Bill Mack, but His music will live on.

So I’ll keep drinking champagne, feeling no pain ‘till early morning.

Pancho.

September 22 2020

King of Country

Dean Dillon says, “country music is going to hell if it don’t change it’s ways.”

Who is this Dean Dillon you ask? Dean Dillon is the man responsible for most of George Straits biggest hit songs. To date, he has written 62 songs for the King of Country Music. Dean is, in a sense, to George Strait who Bernie Taupin is to Elton John. The Man behind the music.

“The end game for songwriters today is just to get a song on the radio.” Dillon explains “I just want to write a great song.”

In Dean’s words he lives, eats, and breathes songwriting. He started writing his songs at the age of seven. He starts by looking for a great hook. He mostly finds his hook just by listening to other people’s conversations. This is where the country song originates.

This talent for finding the right hook scored him his first hit when George Strait recorded “Unwound” a song that almost instantly landed at #6 on the country charts.

Since then Dean has written “The Chair”, “Marina Del Ray”, “Ocean Front Property”, and many more. Hit after Hit he writes, time and time again.

Besides just writing for the King of Country, Dean Dillon has written for recording artist Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Vern Gosden, and Pam Tillis.

Dean wrote the song “Tennessee Whiskey” and originally pitched it to George Strait, but he declined. Another George however decided to record it, George Jones. The song was recently re-recorded by Chris Stapleton.

A documentary detailing the story of Dean Dillon produced by Cole Claassen and released in 2017 is available now on Amazon Prime Video. It is called Tennessee Whiskey: The Dean Dillon Story.

In George and Dean’s 36-year history they have created fans from all walks of life and have created the most wonderful music and lyrics together.

Twenty-two thousand fans watched as George Strait called Dean Dillon onto stage at “Strait to Vegas” in 2016 to thank him for an amazing partnership.

George was planning another “Strait to Vegas” tour in 2021 at the T-Mobile Arena but as of now has postponed as he is prioritizing his fans’ safety through this ongoing pandemic.

~ And this is where the Cowboy rides away ~

Pancho